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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2009, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (6): 527-531.doi: 10.3736/jcim20090607

Special Issue: Acupuncture & Moxibustion

• Original Clinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Functional brain magnetic resonance imaging in healthy people receiving acupuncture at Waiguan versus Waiguan plus Yanglingquan points: A randomized controlled trial

 Yong Huanga,Tian-le Lia,Xin-sheng Laib,Yan-qi Zoua,Jun-xian Wua,Chun-zhi Tangb,Jun-jun Yangb   

  1. a School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanfang Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, Guangdong Province, China
    b Acupuncture and Massage College, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510405, Guangdong Province, China
  • Received:2008-12-22 Accepted:2009-03-31 Online:2009-06-20 Published:2009-06-15


To observe the cerebral activating effects of needling at Waiguan (SJ5) versus SJ5 plus Yanglingquan (GB34) points in young healthy volunteers based on the hypothesis of "needling effect of combined acupuncture points relates to the brain activation".

Sixteen healthy volunteers were randomly divided into SJ5 group and SJ5 plus GB34 group, and there were 8 volunteers in each group. The volunteers in the two groups received needling at corresponding points on the right hand or foot respectively. Nuclear magnetic resonance (1.5T, GE Corporation) was used for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain before and during the needling, and the obtained experimental data in the regional brain were processed and analyzed by the method of region of interest (ROI).

The ROI activation induced by needling of SJ5 or SJ5 plus GB34 was all relatively concentrated (activation rate more than 4 or activation point more than 10) on bilateral frontal and parietal lobes. There were no significant differences in ROI activation rates of brain regions between the two groups. ROI activation points showed that needling at SJ5 could activate the right cerebellum specifically (P<0.05, vs SJ5 plus GB34), while needling at SJ5 plus GB34 could activate the left parietal and occipital lobes and bilateral basal ganglion more effectively than activate the other brain regions (P<0.05, vs SJ5). ROI activation strength showed that needling at SJ5 plus GB34 could more strongly activate the right cerebellum (P<0.05, vs SJ5).

Based on fMRI data, a kind of acupuncture point combination of SJ5 and GB34 within the hand-foot Shaoyang meridians, could improve the motor and sensory dysfunctions and equilibrium disturbance. The effect of combined acupuncture points was proved by cerebral activity initially.

Key words: Waiguan, Yanglingquan, Magnetic resonance imaging, Randomized controlled trial

Table 1

ROI activation rates in two groups[Cases (%)]"

ROI SJ5 (n=8) SJ5 plus GB34
ROI SJ5 (n=8) SJ5 plus GB34
Left frontal lobe 6 (75.00) 6 (75.00) Right frontal lobe 6 (75.00) 6 (75.00)
Left parietal lobe 6 (75.00) 7 (87.50) Right parietal lobe 6 (75.00) 7 (87.50)
Left temporal lobe 5 (62.50) 4 (50.00) Right temporal lobe 4 (50.00) 4 (50.00)
Left occipital lobe 4 (50.00) 5 (62.50) Right occipital lobe 4 (50.00) 3 (37.50)
Left insular lobe 1 (12.50) 0 (0.00) Right insular lobe 0 (0.00) 0 (0.00)
Left hippocampus 1 (12.50) 2 (25.00) Right hippocampus 1 (12.50) 0 (0.00)
Left parahippocampal gyrus 0 (0.00) 1 (12.50) Right parahippocampal gyrus 0 (0.00) 0 (0.00)
Left cingulate gyrus 3 (37.50) 4 (50.00) Right cingulate gyrus 2 (25.00) 0 (0.00)
Left basal ganglia 0 (0.00) 3 (37.50) Right ganglion 1 (12.50) 4 (50.00)
Left pons 1 (12.50) 0 (0.00) Right pons 2 (25.00) 1 (12.50)
Left cerebellum 5 (62.50) 4 (50.00) Right cerebellum 8 (100.00) 4 (50.00)

Table 2

ROI activation points in two groups"

ROI SJ5 (n=8) SJ5 plus GB34
ROI SJ5 (n=8) SJ5 plus GB34
Left frontal lobe 17 31 Right frontal lobe 23 25
Left parietal lobe 16 38* Right parietal lobe 11 16
Left temporal lobe 9 17 Right temporal lobe 10 13
Left occipital lobe 7 17* Right occipital lobe 7 8
Left insular lobe 1 0 Right insular lobe 0 0
Left hippocampus 1 3 Right hippocampus 1 0
Left parahippocampal gyrus 0 1 Right parahippocampal gyrus 0 0
Left cingulate gyrus 5 6 Right cingulate gyrus 4 0
Left basal ganglia 0 11* Right basal ganglia 1 9*
Left pons 1 0 Right pons 4 1
Left cerebellum 5 5 Right cerebellum 21 5*

Table 3

ROI activation strength in two groups(x±s)"

ROI SJ5 (n=8) SJ5 plus GB34
ROI SJ5 (n=8) SJ5 plus GB34
Left frontal lobe 3.38±2.47 5.04±3.87 Right frontal lobe 3.73±1.88 6.64±2.16
Left parietal lobe 3.97±2.16 4.96±1.85 Right parietal lobe 3.58±1.69 4.83±3.80
Left temporal lobe 2.68±2.02 4.13±3.86 Right temporal lobe 5.12±1.80 3.63±1.20
Left occipital lobe 3.60±2.54 4.97±3.22 Right occipital lobe 2.31±2.12 5.54±4.59
Left insular lobe 6.73±0.00 Right insular lobe
Left hippocampus 4.11±0.00 7.83±6.35 Right hippocampus 2.56±0.00
Left parahippocampal gyrus 3.53±0.00 Right parahippocampal gyrus
Left cingulate gyrus 5.01±2.38 6.50±2.16 Right cingulate gyrus 6.09±3.59
Left basal ganglia 6.18±4.59 Right basal ganglia 3.07±0.00 4.56±3.12
Left pons 5.34±0.00 Right pons 2.15±2.22 4.06±0.00
Left cerebellum 3.36±2.95 5.87±2.96 Right cerebellum 4.41±1.77 8.75±5.04*
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