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Adenosine A1 receptors mediate local anti-nociceptive effects of acupuncture

Nature Neuroscience volume 13, pages 883888 (2010) | Download Citation

Abstract

Acupuncture is an invasive procedure commonly used to relieve pain. Acupuncture is practiced worldwide, despite difficulties in reconciling its principles with evidence-based medicine. We found that adenosine, a neuromodulator with anti-nociceptive properties, was released during acupuncture in mice and that its anti-nociceptive actions required adenosine A1 receptor expression. Direct injection of an adenosine A1 receptor agonist replicated the analgesic effect of acupuncture. Inhibition of enzymes involved in adenosine degradation potentiated the acupuncture-elicited increase in adenosine, as well as its anti-nociceptive effect. These observations indicate that adenosine mediates the effects of acupuncture and that interfering with adenosine metabolism may prolong the clinical benefit of acupuncture.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by a grant from the US National Institutes of Health to M.N. and K.T.

Author information

Author notes

    • Nanna Goldman
    • , Michael Chen
    •  & Takumi Fujita

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.

    • Nanna Goldman
    • , Michael Chen
    • , Takumi Fujita
    • , Qiwu Xu
    • , Weiguo Peng
    • , Wei Liu
    • , Tina K Jensen
    • , Yong Pei
    • , Fushun Wang
    • , Xiaoning Han
    • , Takahiro Takano
    • , Lane Bekar
    • , Kim Tieu
    •  & Maiken Nedergaard
  2. Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Jiang-Fan Chen
  3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, US National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

    • Jurgen Schnermann

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All authors contributed to experimental design and execution and manuscript preparation.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Maiken Nedergaard.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2562

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