Clinical patients suffering from pain usually exhibit aversion to pain-associated environments (pain aversion). Electro-acupuncture (EA) has been proven to be effective for the treatment of pain aversion in our previous studies. The amygdala could have substantial consequences on emotion and pain consolidation as well as general pain aversion behavior, however, the underlying mechanism remains unclear.
The current study was performed to investigate Isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) based quantitative proteomic analysis of the amygdala in rats with complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA)-induced pain aversion, and comprehensive analysis of protein expression were performed to explore the underlying mechanism by which EA affects pain aversion.
Inflammatory pain was induced with an intraplantar injection of 100 μL of CFA in the plantar surface of the left hind paw of the male Spragure-Dawley (SD) rats. Then the CFA-induced conditioned place aversion (C-CPA) test was performed. EA stimulation on the bilateral Zusanli and Sanyinjiao acu-points was used for 14 days and the EA stimulation frequency is 2 Hz. Based on iTRAQ-based proteomics analysis, we investigated the protein expression in the amygdala.
EA can increase the paw withdrawal threshold in inflammatory pain induced by noxious stimulation. A total of 6319 proteins were quantified in amygdala. Of these identified proteins, 123 were identified in the pain aversion group relative to those in the saline group, and 125 significantly altered proteins were identified in the pain aversion + EA group relative to the pain aversion group. A total of 11 proteins were found to be differentially expressed in the amygdala of pain aversion and EA-treated rats. The expression of three proteins, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, glutamate transporter-1, and p21-activated kinase 6, were confirmed to be consistent with the results of the proteome.