This study sought to investigate the interactive effects of acupuncture on pain and distress and the local progress in the burn wound in an experimental major burn model. Forty-eight male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into six groups: S group (sham/observation during 7 days after injury); SA group (sham/acupuncture/observation during 7 days after injury); B1 group (burns/observation during 1 h after injury); BA1 group (burns/acupuncture/observation during 1 h after injury); B7 group (burns/observation during 7 days after injury); and BA7 group (burns/acupuncture/observation during 7 days after injury). Pain and distress scores were evaluated throughout the study. The amounts of neutrophils and mononuclear cells were evaluated semiquantitatively, and the number of microvessels was evaluated quantitatively. Our data indicated that the average pain score of BA7 group was significantly lower than the other study groups. Histopathologic investigations indicate that the amounts of neutrophil and mononuclear cell and numbers of microvessels in the unburned skin were higher in acupuncture-applied groups. The number of microvessels in burn wounds of BA7 group was significantly higher than that of the other groups. Our data suggest that acupuncture provides low pain and distress scores in experimental rat model, and it contributes to wound healing with an enhanced angiogenesis during the acute phase of burns. Future clinical and experimental studies should be conducted to discern the benefits from acupuncture in pain management of burn patients.
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