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Brain Res Bull. 1992 Nov; 29(5): 617-34.

Descending pain inhibitory system involved in acupuncture analgesia.

Takeshige C, Sato T, Mera T, Hisamitsu T, Fang J.

Department of Physiology, Showa University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

The descending pain inhibitory system (DPIS) associated with acupuncture analgesia (AA), caused by low frequency stimulation of an acupuncture point, was identified by the results of lesion and stimulation procedures previously determined to differentiate the afferent and efferent paths in rats. The DPIS starts in the posterior arcuate nucleus and descends to the hypothalamic ventromedian nucleus (HVM) from whence it divides into two pathways: one path, the serotonin mediated path, descends through the ventral periaqueductal central gray (V-PAG) and then to the raphe magnus (RM). The other, the noradrenaline mediated path, descends through the reticuloparagigantocellular nucleus (NRPG) and part of the reticulogigantocellular nucleus (NRGC). The afferent and efferent paths are both present in the RM and NRGC, and were separately identified by means of the analgesia (SPA) produced by stimulation of the separate regions in AA responders and nonresponders, because SPA of these regions in nonresponders produced only efferent pathway mediated analgesia.

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