Electrophysiology of growth control and acupuncture

Life Sci. 2001 Feb 9;68(12):1333-42. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(00)01032-8.


Bioelectric fields have been shown to interact with morphogens and guide growth control. The morphogenetic singularity theory published a decade ago suggests that organizing centers have high density of gap junctions and high electrical conductance. They are the singular points in morphogen gradient and bioelectric field. A growth control system originates from a network of organizing centers containing under-differentiated cells and retains its regulatory functions after embryogenesis. The formation and maintenance of all the physiological systems are directly dependent on the activity of the growth control system. The evolutionary origin of the growth control system is likely to have preceded all the other physiological systems. Its genetic blueprint might have served as a template from which the newer systems evolved. The growth control signal transduction is embedded in the activity of the function-based physiological systems. The regulation of most physiological processes is through growth control mechanisms such as hypertrophy, hyperplasia, atrophy, and apoptosis. Acupuncture points, which also have high electrical conductance and high density of gap junctions, originate from organizing centers. This theory can explain the distribution and non-specific activation of organizing centers and many research results in acupuncture. In several 'prospective blind trials', recent research results have supported its corollary on the role of singularity and separatrix in morphogenesis, the predictions on the high electric conductance and the high density of gap junctions at the organizing centers. These advances have broad implications in biomedical sciences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points
  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Animals
  • Electric Conductivity*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology
  • Gap Junctions / physiology
  • Growth / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Morphogenesis / physiology
  • Organizers, Embryonic / physiology
  • Signal Transduction