An article in this month’s edition of The Journal of Pain presents results of an investigation into the mechanism by which acupuncture acts to modulate pain. The study found novel evidence of the local molecular signaling in acupuncture analgesia by demonstrating that extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) activation in the skin layer contributes to the analgesic effect of acupuncture in a mouse pain model. This work improves our understanding of the scientific basis underlying acupuncture analgesia.
Despite accumulating evidence of the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture, its mechanism remains largely unclear. It has been assumed that molecular signaling around the acupuncture needled area is essential for initiating the effect of acupuncture. To determine possible bio-candidates involved in the mechanisms of acupuncture and investigate the role of such bio-candidates in the analgesic effects of acupuncture, researchers conducted 2 stepwise experiments with mice. Read the journal abstract, with login access to the full article, here.