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Eur J Pharmacol. 1992 Feb; 211(2): 203-10.

All three types of opioid receptors in the spinal cord are important for 2/15 Hz electroacupuncture analgesia.

Chen XH, Han JS.

Department of Physiology, Beijing Medical University, People's Republic of China.

The analgesic effect induced by 2/15 Hz electroacupuncture as shown by the increase in tail flick latency decreased steadily as electroacupuncture stimulation was given continuously for 6 h, showing the development of tolerance to electroacupuncture analgesia. These rats were then given an intrathecal (i.t.) injection of one of the following opioid agonists: the mu agonist, ohmefentanyl 7.5, 15 and 30 pmol, 10 min apart; the delta agonist, [D-Pen2,D-Pen5]enkephalin (DPDPE) 5, 10 and 20 nmol, 10 min apart and the kappa agonist, dynorphin-(1-13) 2.5, 5 and 10 nmol, 10 min apart, respectively. The analgesic effect induced by ohmefentanyl, DPDPE or dynorphin was dramatically reduced in rats rendered tolerant to 2/15 Hz electroacupuncture analgesia. Rats were injected i.t. with one of the three specific opioid antagonists: the mu antagonist, beta-funaltrexamine (beta-FNA) (5, 10 and 20 nmol), the delta antagonist, ICI174,864 (1, 2 and 4 nmol) and the kappa antagonist, nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI) (3.125, 6.25 and 12.5 nmol). It was found that analgesia induced by 2/15 Hz electroacupuncture stimulation was significantly and almost totally blocked by any one of the three opioid antagonists. These results suggest that all three types of opioid receptors, the mu, delta and kappa receptors in the spinal cord of the rat play important roles in mediating analgesia induced by electroacupuncture of 2/15 Hz.

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