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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2011, Vol. 9 ›› Issue (10): 1101-1109.doi: 10.3736/jcim20111011

• Original Clinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Assessing the microcirculatory response following oral administration of Liuwei Dihuang formula by spectral analysis of skin-surface laser Doppler signals

Hsin Hsiu1(), Wei-Chen Hsu2, Shih-Ming Huang3, Chia-Ching Lin3, Hung-Wen Lin3   

  1. 1. Graduate Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan, China
    2. Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Taipei City Hospital RenAi Branch, Taipei, Taiwan, China
    3. Department of Electrical Engineering, Yuan Ze University, Taoyuan, Taiwan, China
  • Received:2011-05-10 Accepted:2011-06-15 Online:2011-10-20 Published:2011-10-15
  • Contact: Hsiu Hsin

Objective: This study aimed to assess the skin-surface microcirculatory effects of oral administration of Liuwei Dihuang (LW) formula by analyzing the frequency content of laser-Doppler skin blood-flow signals at important acupoints.

Methods: Laser-Doppler signals were measured in male healthy volunteers in two groups of experiments: the LW experiment (n=42; aged (27.8±3.8) years) and the control experiment (n=28; aged (27.3±3.4) years). Each experiment involved a 20-minute baseline-data sequence and three following sets of effects data: recorded on the same day after oral administration of 250 mL water (28 ℃) accompanied with 5 g of LW formula (herbal extract granules), and recorded on the second day after taking other two doses of LW formula.

Results: During the second day, the increases in the mean and pulsatile components of the flux signal were the most prominent, and the relative energy contribution at 0.02 to 0.06 Hz was significantly decreased at Taixi (KI3). There were no any other significant changes in these parameters at other measurement sites.

Conclusion: The redistribution of skin-surface microcirculatory blood flow following oral LW administration observed here can be attributed to different changes in sympathetic neural activities and thus the different perfusion resistance through the arteriolar openings of the peripheral vascular beds at different measurement sites. The developed noninvasive and real-time monitoring technique could form part of an evidence-based method for studying the physiological effects and the underlying mechanisms of traditional Chinese medicine herbs.

Key words: Liuwei Dihuang decoction, drugs,Chinese herbal, microcirculation, laser-Doppler flowmetry, human body

Figure 1

Locations of the measurement sites on the footO: Taixi acupoint (Site 1); ×: nearby nonacupoint (Site 2); △: location of the thermistor."


Skin temperature (℃)
Group Site n M0 M1 M2 M3
Control Site 1 28 31.5±1.5 31.6±1.4 31.1±1.5 31.4±1.6
Site 3 28 31.3±1.3 31.5±1.4 31.8±1.4 31.3±1.6
Site 4 28 33.2±1.3 33.3±1.2 33.0±1.2 32.9±1.5
LW Site 1 42 31.6±1.3 31.7±1.2 31.9±1.2 31.7±1.3
Site 3 42 32.0±1.2 32.1±1.5 31.9±1.4 32.4±1.2
Site 4 42 33.2±1.1 33.2±0.8 33.3±1.1 33.0±0.9

Figure 2

Definitions of the LDF parametersTime 0 corresponds to the location of the ECG R-peak. MMBF is the mean value of the LDF flux signals during each 20-minute measurement period while PMBF is the mean value of the absolute values of all data points in the DC-filtered LDF waveform (i.e., the average value of the shaded area). LDF: laser-Doppler flowmetry; ECG: electrocardiograph."


Group Time n SBP (mmHg) DBP (mmHg) HR (beats/min) Environmental temperature (℃)
Control Day 1 28 114.0±6.4 77.6±5.5 70.3±6.4 23.0±0.9
Day 2 28 114.3±6.8 76.0±5.7 70.8±7.1 23.2±0.8
LW Day 1 42 111.5±6.0 75.4±5.6 70.0±6.4 23.2±0.7
Day 2 42 112.0±6.6 75.3±5.2 71.2±7.5 22.9±0.8


Group Period n Relative change
Site 1 Site 2 Site 3 Site 4
LW M1/M0 42 1.103±0.107* 1.083±0.115* 1.018±0.094 1.034±0.114
M2/M0 42 1.137±0.202* 1.141±0.249* 1.102±0.196* 1.048±0.220
M3/M0 42 1.211±0.384* 1.091±0.208* 1.124±0.264* 0.978±0.187
Control M1/M0 28 1.018±0.091 1.014±0.064 0.986±0.123 1.021±0.083
M2/M0 28 0.958±0.121 0.991±0.122 0.969±0.139 1.030±0.138
M3/M0 28 0.971±0.110 0.979±0.132 0.972±0.119 1.015±0.128


Group Period n Relative change
Site 1 Site 2 Site 3 Site 4
LW M1/M0 42 1.117±0.178 1.068±0.158 0.991±0.196 1.066±0.151
M2/M0 42 1.232±0.265* 1.180±0.266* 1.043±0.354 0.968±0.211
M3/M0 42 1.369±0.270* 1.130±0.258 1.095±0.484 0.979±0.261
Control M1/M0 18 1.044±0.125 1.010±0.118 1.027±0.145 1.041±0.138
M2/M0 18 0.979±0.138 1.017±0.147 0.987±0.149 0.978±0.170
M3/M0 18 1.031±0.155 0.989±0.144 1.041±0.151 1.030±0.148


Site Period Change in REC (%)
Site 1 M0 20.72±6.83 27.29±5.60 20.20±7.67 11.49±5.20 20.30±10.14
M1 20.70±7.61 25.43±6.17 19.85±7.71 13.14±6.10 20.87±11.31
M2 20.27±8.93 24.39±5.19* 20.93±7.20 12.24±5.48 22.17±12.63
M3 18.08±6.85 22.76±4.77* 22.21±8.29 12.70±8.12 24.24±10.49*
Site 2 M0 13.26±4.37 18.99±6.89 19.44±6.91 19.09±7.23 29.22±9.08
M1 13.21±4.90 18.57±6.02 19.38±6.34 19.53±7.03 29.31±9.15
M2 13.69±6.10 17.49±5.76 19.33±7.29 19.94±8.30 29.56±9.56
M3 13.90±6.94 17.72±6.75 20.18±7.08 19.96±8.46 28.24±8.86
Site 3 M0 16.29±7.75 27.67±7.88 24.31±5.76 14.70±7.89 17.02±8.88
M1 17.19±6.76 26.77±6.48 24.69±6.48 14.06±6.92 17.29±9.12
M2 17.09±6.32 27.66±7.29 24.79±6.91 13.62±6.29 16.83±7.98
M3 17.38±7.26 26.60±6.80 26.14±5.22 13.55±5.29 16.33±8.87
Site 4 M0 23.69±7.78 26.81±5.33 19.53±6.73 11.46±5.68 18.51±10.52
M1 24.48±8.77 25.36±5.90 19.02±7.05 12.66±6.05 18.48±10.97
M2 25.46±9.96 25.19±5.46 19.84±7.09 11.08±4.56 18.44±11.53
M3 23.24±7.99 23.71±6.01 20.84±7.39 12.01±7.28 20.20±11.57

Figure 3

Relation between changes in the PMBF and 1/(REC of FR2) of the LDF signal at the four measurement sites during M3Relative changes in the PMBF and 1/(REC of FR2) are defined as the M3 value divided by the average baseline value. R2 is 0.51 (P<0.01 by F-test) at Site 1, which indicates that the most prominent inverse proportional relation between PMBF and the REC of FR2. The R2 values are all smaller than 0.20 at other sites. PMBF: pulsatile microcirculatory blood flow; REC: relative energy contribution; FR: frequency; LDF: laser-Doppler flowmetry."

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