Previous studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce inflammation, but the actual mechanism of the reduction is still not well-explored. In this new study, researchers conducted an investigation of distal electro-acupuncture at LI 4 on inflammatory pain in the hind paws of mice. Instead of simply testing whether acupuncture would reduce inflammation, they were attempting to figure out whether a particular part of the brain’s cells, called transient receptor potential cation channels (TRPV1), was involved in acupuncture’s anti-inflammatory effects.
The result? The researchers found that electro-acupuncture , but not sham acupuncture, reduced inflammatory pain in mice–and also found signs that TRPV1 activation was lowered by electro-acupuncture. This finding highlight’s the brain’s role in the effectiveness of electro-acupuncture in pain and inflammation reduction.
Reference: Yen CM, Wu TC, Hsieh CL, Huang YW, Lin YW. Distal Electroacupuncture at the LI4 Acupoint Reduces CFA-Induced Inflammatory Pain via the Brain TRPV1 Signaling Pathway. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Sep 10;20(18). pii: E4471. doi: 10.3390/ijms20184471.