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Open Access Research article

Electro-acupuncture on functional peripheral nerve regeneration in mice: a behavioural study

Ngoc Son Hoang14, Chamroeun Sar1, Jean Valmier13, Victor Sieso12 and Frédérique Scamps1*

Author Affiliations

1 Inserm, U 1051, Montpellier, F-34000, France

2 University Montpellier I, Montpellier, F-34000, France

3 University Montpellier II, Montpellier, F-34000, France

4 Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:141  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-141

Published: 31 August 2012

Abstract

Background

The improvement of axonal regeneration is a major objective in the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of electro-acupuncture on the functional recovery of sensorimotor responses following left sciatic nerve crush in mice.

Methods

Sciatic nerve crush was performed on seven week old female mice. Following the injury, the control group was untreated while the experimental group received an electro-acupuncture application to the injured limb under isoflurane anesthesia at acupoints GB 30 and GB 34. Mechanical and heat sensitivity tests were performed to evaluate sensory recovery. Gait analysis was performed to assess sensorimotor recovery.

Results

Our results show that normal sensory recovery is achieved within five to six weeks with a two-week period of pain preceding the recovery to normal sensitivity levels. While electro-acupuncture did not accelerate sensory recovery, it did alleviate pain-related behaviour but only when applied during this period. Application before the development of painful symptoms did not prevent their occurrence. The analysis of gait in relation to the sensory tests suggests that the electro-acupuncture specifically improved motor recovery.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates that electro-acupuncture exerts a positive influence on motor recovery and is efficient in the treatment of pain symptoms that develop during target re-innervation.

Keywords:
Sciatic nerve; Crush; Nerve injury; Pain; Sensorimotor