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Analgesic Effect of Tuina on Rat Models with Compression of the Dorsal Root Ganglion Pain

Published: July 14th, 2023



1Department of Tuina, Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2Rehabilitation Medicine Department, Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 3Department of Tuina, Shuguang Hospital of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
* These authors contributed equally

This article presents a manipulation for treating chronic compression of the dorsal root ganglion in rats using Tuina therapy, along with a method for evaluating its effectiveness based on pain behavior and histopathological results.

Neuropathic pain is a prevalent condition that affects 6.9%-10% of the population and results from nerve damage due to various etiologies, such as lumbar disc herniation, spinal canal stenosis, and intervertebral foramen stenosis. Although Tuina, a traditional Chinese manual therapy, has shown analgesic effects in clinical practice for the treatment of neuropathic pain, its underlying neurobiological mechanisms remain unclear. Animal models are essential for elucidating the basic principles of Tuina. In this study, we propose a standardized Tuina protocol for rats with compression of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG), which involves inducing DRG compression by inserting a stainless steel rod into the intervertebral foramen, performing Tuina manipulation with specific parameters of location, intensity, and frequency in a controlled environment, and assessing the behavioral and histopathological outcomes of Tuina treatment. This article also discusses the potential clinical implications and limitations of the study and suggests directions for future research on Tuina.

In clinical settings, it is common to observe neurological pathological pain caused by nerve root compression due to various reasons. The most typical form of this neuropathic pain is lumbar disc herniation (LDH), which is often persistent, recurrent, and difficult to cure. Approximately 9% of the global population is affected by LDH, leading to significant social and economic burdens1. The incidence of this type of neuropathic pain is increasing yearly, with a trend toward younger patients, due to changes in human production and lifestyle2. Despite the use of non-steroidal painkillers, patients' symptoms cannot be c....

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This work was carried out at the Pain Lab of the Neurobiology Institute at Fudan University. The experiments were approved and strictly adhered to the guidelines for the protection of laboratory animals established by the International Association for the Study of Pain (LASP) for all surgical procedures and animal handling. Clean-grade Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats, consisting of 32 males between 40-50 days old, with an average weight of 220 ± 1.38 g, were used for the present study. These rats were obtained from the Exp.......

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Tuina therapy can help decrease rats' mechanical and thermal stimulation thresholds caused by CCD modeling
After 17 days of Tuina therapy, a significant difference was observed in PWT thresholds between the CCD rats receiving Tuina therapy and the untreated CCD group (P = 0.021, <0.05) (Figure 6 and Table 1).

The rats in the CCD group receiving Tuina therapy showed improvement in pain threshold from the begi.......

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Our research group has conducted relevant studies on the parameters of Tuina manipulation in early stage. First, it is important to set the force intensity for Tuina manipulation. In clinical Tuina, practitioners adjust the force intensity according to their experience and patients' subjective feelings, achieving the best Tuina effect through communication. However, this is not feasible in animal experiments. In animal experiments, a "response threshold" is used to define the intensity of Tuina manipulation. .......

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This work was supported by ShanghaiCritical Clinical Specialties ConstructionProject(Grant Number: Shslczdzk04001); the Sailing program of Shanghai Science andTechnology Commission (Grant Number:22YF1444300); Projects within the budget ofShanghai University of Traditional ChineseMedicine(Grant Number: 2021LK091).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
"L" stainless steel rod (4 mm long and 0.4 mm in diameter) hand-made / For CCD models making
ALMEMO admeasuring apparatus ahlborn 2450-1 Mechanical Withdrawal Threshold test
Constant temperature slicer CM-1900 Leica 1491950C1US For specimen production
Disinfectant (iodine) 100 mL/bottle LIRCON/Shandong Lilkang / For disinfection
Disposable sterile syringe 5 mL Shanghai Misha Wa Medical Industry / For injection
Electron microscope CX-31 Olympus, Japan BJ002318 For specimen observation
Finger pressure recordings Suzhou Changxian Optoelectronic Technology CX1003w For Tuina manipulation
Foam board (35 cm x 20 cm) hand-made / It is our homemade apparatus for fixing rats
MERSILK W2512 Johnson & Johnson / For tissue suture
Neutral balsam Sinopharm Chemical Reagent 10004160 For specimen production
paraformaldehyde China National Chemical Reagent / For specimen production
Pentobarbital sodium Sigma-Aldrich P3761 For anesthesia of rat
Plantar Test Apparatus (Hargreaves Method) for Mice and Rats IITC Life Science / Paw Withdrawal Latency
Precision electronic scale for experiment JY3002 Shanghai Precision Scientific Instrument / Weighing of rat
Rat hair clipper Philips HP6341/00 Shaving of rat fur
Restrainer for rats Tongji University (self-made) / It is a homemade apparatus made by Tongji University, which can effectively immobilize the rats and fully expose their hind limbs.
Tissue-Tek O.C.T. Compound SAKURA 4583 For specimen production
Uratan China National Chemical Reagent / For anesthesia of rat
X-ray detector XR-600 Dongguan Kaso Electronic Technology / Examination of CCD models
xylene Shanghai Sinopharm Group 100092 For specimen production

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