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Int J Neurosci. 1992 Jul-Aug; 65(1-4): 117-29.

Comparison of the antinociceptive effects induced by electroacupuncture and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in the rat.

Wang JQ, Mao L, Han JS.

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

The analgesic effects induced by two different kinds of peripheral conditioning stimulations, electroacupuncture (EA) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), were compared in the rat using the latency of radiant heat-evoked tail flick reflex as nociceptive index. The parallel elevations of withdrawal latency of tail flick were produced by EA and TENS administrations at the acupoints of S36 and Sp6 with low intensity (1-2-3 mA) and one of three different frequencies (2, 15 and 100 Hz). Analgesic effects of EA or TENS were characterized by slow-on and slow-off nature, and a significant linear correlation was found between both at any one of three frequencies. Systemic naloxone hydrochloride (2 mg/kg) almost completely and partially antagonized 2 and 15 Hz EA- or TENS-induced analgesia, respectively, but failed to affect those induced by 100 Hz EA or TENS. Tolerance to EA stimulation with one of three frequencies reduced the corresponding frequency TENS-induced analgesia and vice versa. These data indicate that: (a) there is no significant difference in producing antinociception for two different peripheral conditioning stimulations when applied at the same sites and (b) the common neural mechanisms most likely process the analgesic effects of EA and TENS. The involvement of (an) endogenous opiate mechanism in the management of different frequency EA and TENS analgesia is discussed in detail.

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