Intense peripheral electrical stimulation evokes brief and persistent inhibition of the nociceptive tail withdrawal reflex in the rat
- Additional Document Info
- View All
In a study of modulation of nociception by sensory inputs, electrical stimulation was applied to specific sites in the hindlimb and effects on the nociceptive tail withdrawal reflex were monitored in the lightly anaesthetized rat. Stimulation was applied to previously defined sites in the hindlimb, meridian points femur-futu (ST-32), fengshi (GB-31) and zusanli (ST-36). It consisted of a 4 Hz train of 2 ms square pulses given for 20 min at 20 x the threshold intensity required for muscle twitch. Tail withdrawal was provoked by application of a noxious heat stimulus applied to the tip of the tail. Results were expressed as a percentage of the maximal possible inhibition which is achieved when the post-treatment latency is 2 x the pre-treatment latency otherwise known as the cut off. During stimulation, the latency of the withdrawal increased to approximately 70% of the maximal possible inhibition. Following stimulation, the inhibition persisted for > 1 h. Stimulation at 2 or 6 Hz elicited similar effects but stimulation at 8 Hz evoked inhibition during the stimulation only. Stimulation applied to sites away from defined meridian points inhibited tail withdrawal during the stimulation; no post-stimulation effect was produced. In acutely transected animals (< or = 48 h), stimulation of meridian points elicited a small, brief increase in latency but during stimulation only. At 7 and 14 days after spinal transection, this response during stimulation was greater in magnitude and a brief post-stimulation increase was also observed. The return of this latter effect was coincident with the return of bladder function. These data suggest that high intensity, low frequency electrical stimulation of hindlimb meridian points in the lightly anaesthetized rat produces both brief and persistent inhibitory effects on the nociceptive tail withdrawal reflex. These effects appear to be elicited by different mechanisms. The persistent effect may represent a plastic change in central inhibitory mechanisms. Data from spinal animals indicate a major participation of supraspinal structures but that spinal mechanisms are also capable of sustaining both types of effect.
has subject area