PAPupuncture 100 times more effective than Acupuncture in providing Pain Relief


Acupuncture has been used for long for the management of pain. It acts by stimulating an acupuncture point by inserting a needle. This causes the release of nucleotides which are then converted into adenosine. It is adenosine which decreases the body’s sensitivity to pain and thus provides pain relief. Scientists from the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology and the UNC Neuroscience Center, led by Mark J. Zylka, studied the chemicals involved in providing pain relief during acupuncture and used the mechanism to develop prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) which has been found to be 100 times more effective than traditional acupuncture in treating pain. The study describing the mechanism of PAPupuncture has been published in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Pain.

For their research, Zylka along with his colleagues injected Pap into the popliteal fossa behind the knee. The point corresponded with the Weizhong point in traditional acupuncture. They found that the duration of pain relief was much longer compared to acupuncture- in fact, it lasted 100 times longer. The researchers also noted that relief from symptoms associated with inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain could also be obtained following a single injection of PAP.

PAP is an ectonucleotidase. It acts by dephosphorylating extracellular adenosine-mono-phosphate into adenosine. It has a long half-life and is naturally present in muscle tissue adjacent to acupuncture points. Zylka and his colleagues had studied the action of PAP several years ago. They had been successful in providing relief from chronic pain for around three days by injecting PAP in the spine of rodents. But giving a spinal injection requires a special clinical setting and cannot be used for all types of pains. It has to be reserved only for patients with a very severe and excruciating pain. However, with the new technique of PAPupuncture, pain relief can be obtained without giving an injection into the spine. Moreover, as the spine is not involved, the dose of PAP can be increased depending upon the degree of pain. According to Zylka, PAP has the potential to be more effective in pain management than local anesthetic agents.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012
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