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Int J Neurosci. 1993 Jun; 70(3-4): 217-22.

Electroacupuncture accelerated the expression of c-Fos protooncogene in dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area of the rat.

Ma QP, Zhou Y, Han JS.

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

The mesolimbic dopaminergic system has been implicated in mediating morphine and electroacupuncture analgesia. In the present study, Fos immunoreactivity was used as a marker of neuronal activity to investigate if electroacupuncture could activate the dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. Electroacupuncture stimulation significantly increased the number of Fos-positive dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), whereas no significant c-fos expression in the dopaminergic neurons was observed in the substantia nigra (SN). These results indicate that the VTA rather than the SN may play a role in mediating electroacupuncture analgesia.

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