Article

Commonality and Specificity of Acupuncture Action at Three Acupoints as Evidenced by fMRI

Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, USA.
The American Journal of Chinese Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.63). 01/2012; 40(4):695-712. DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X12500528
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Previous work from our team and others has shown that manual acupuncture at LI4 (hegu), ST36 (zusanli), and LV3 (taichong) deactivates a limbic-paralimbic-neocortical brain network, and at the same time activates somatosensory regions of the brain. The objective of the present study was to explore the specificity and commonality of the brain response to manual acupuncture at LI4, ST36, and LV3, acupoints that are located on different meridians and are used to treat pain disorders. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor the brain responses to acupuncture at three different acupoints; we examined 46 healthy subjects who, according to their psychophysical responses, experienced deqi sensation during acupuncture. Brain responses to stimulation at each of the acupoints were displayed in conjunction with one another to show the spatial distribution. We found clusters of deactivation in the medial prefrontal, medial parietal and medial temporal lobes showing significant convergence of two or all three of the acupoints. The largest regions showing common responses to all three acupoints were the right subgenual BA25, right subgenual cingulate, right isthmus of the cingulum bundle, and right BA31. We also noted differences in major sections of the medial prefrontal and medial temporal lobes, with LI4 predominating in the pregenual cingulate and hippocampal formation, ST36 predominating in the subgenual cingulate, and LV3 predominating in the posterior hippocampus and posterior cingulate. The results suggest that although these acupoints are commonly used for anti-pain and modulatory effects, they may mobilize the same intrinsic global networks, with substantial overlap of common brain regions to mediate their actions. Our findings showing preferential response of certain limbic-paralimbic structures suggests acupoints may also exhibit relative specificity.

0 Followers
 · 
121 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clarifying the intrinsic mechanisms of acupuncture's clinical effects has recently been gaining popularity. Here, we choose the Siguan acupoint (a combination of bilateral LI4 and Liv3) and its sham point to evaluate multiacupoint specificity. Thirty-one healthy volunteers were randomly divided into real acupoint (21 subjects) and sham acupoint (10 subjects) groups. Our study used a single block experimental design to avoid the influence of posteffects. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired during acupuncture stimulation. Results showed extensive increase in neuronal activities with Siguan acupuncture and significant differences between stimulation at real and sham points. Brain regions that were activated more by real acupuncture stimulation than by sham point acupuncture included somatosensory cortex (the superior parietal lobule and postcentral gyrus), limbic-paralimbic system (the calcarine gyrus, precuneus, cingulate cortex, and parahippocampal gyrus), visual-related cortex (the fusiform and occipital gyri), basal ganglia, and the cerebellum. In this way, our study suggests Siguan may elicit specific activities in human brain.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 11/2014; 2014:103491. DOI:10.1155/2014/103491 · 2.18 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: According to Traditional Chinese Medicine there is an optimum time to administer acupuncture at a particular acupoint. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the timing effects of acupuncture at the Zusanli (ST36) acupoint. A total of 10 healthy volunteers and 10 post-stroke patients were recruited. The subjects received acupuncture stimulation at ST36 during two time periods: between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. (the AM condition) and between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. (the PM condition), seven days later. Blood oxygenation level-dependent signals were captured while the patient was receiving the acupuncture stimulation. The results showed a stronger activation in the AM condition than in the PM condition in both healthy and stroke subjects. The significant regions in the healthy subjects included the prefrontal cortex, cingulum, thalamus and cerebellum; for the stroke patients, the significant regions were the cuneus, supplementary motor area and inferior parietal gyrus. Timing can therefore modulate brain activation patterns during acupuncture in healthy subjects and stroke patients; however, the modulation effect appears to differ between the two subject groups. Further studies are required to explore the timing effects of acupuncture at different acupoints in different populations.
    Experimental and therapeutic medicine 01/2015; 9(1):59-64. DOI:10.3892/etm.2014.2056 · 0.94 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Acupuncture, as a healing art in traditional Chinese medicine, has been widely used to treat various diseases. In the history of acupuncture anesthesia, in the past decades, mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia has been widely investigated, and in recent years, acupuncture protection on organ functions has attracted great interest. This review summarized the research progress on mechanisms of acupuncture for analgesia and of its protection against organ function injury in anesthesia, and its perspective of analgesia, immunomodulation, neuroendocrine regulation and multiple organ protection. The current evidence supports that acupuncture analgesia and its organ protection in anesthesia is associated with the integration of neuroendocrine-immune networks in the level of neurotransmitters, cytokines, hormones, neuronal ensembles, lymphocytes, and endocrine cells. Although the mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia and its organ protection are still not completely understood, basic as well as clinic researches on the mechanisms and applications of acupuncture and related techniques are being carried out.
    Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 01/2015; 1(1):1-. DOI:10.15908/j.issn.2311-8571.2014.0012 · 0.67 Impact Factor