Comparison of electroacupuncture in restrained and unrestrained rat models

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Acupuncture and electroacupuncture (EA) are widely used to treat a variety of diseases including pain. In preclinical research, EA is usually applied by inserting acupuncture needles into the hindlimbs of rats restrained in small tubes or bags. This restrained model of EA not only causes stress-like behaviors but also is limited in stimulating locations and intensities. In 2004, a novel, unrestrained model of EA was introduced. However, these two EA methods have never been directly compared regarding their analgesic effects and other features such as stress. In the present study, we reported similar analgesic effects between restrained and unrestrained EA in rats of acute inflammatory pain induced by intraplantar injection of CFA. In addition, rats receiving unrestrained EA showed less significant stress-like behaviors and tolerated higher current intensity. These advantages suggest that this unrestrained EA method can replace the traditional restrained procedure with similar analgesic effects and allow for more choices of stimulating intensities and locations. © 2013 Haolin Zhang et al.




Zhang, H., Chen, X., Zhang, C., Zhang, R., Lao, L., Wan, Y., & Yi, M. (2013). Comparison of electroacupuncture in restrained and unrestrained rat models. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.

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