Acupuncture stimulation on GB34 activates neural responses associated with Parkinson's disease

CNS Neurosci Ther. 2012 Sep;18(9):781-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2012.00363.x.


Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a degenerative brain disorder that is caused by neural defects in the substantia nigra. Numerous studies have reported that acupuncture treatment on GB34 (Yanglingquan) leads to significant improvements in patients with PD and in PD animal models. Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have shown that patients with PD, compared to healthy participants, have lower neural responses in extensive brain regions including the putamen, thalamus, and the supplementary motor area.

Objective: This study investigated the reported association between acupuncture point GB34 and PD.

Methods: Using fMRI, neural responses of 12 patients with PD and 12 healthy participants were examined before and after acupuncture stimulation.

Results: Acupuncture stimulation increased neural responses in regions including the substantia nigra, caudate, thalamus, and putamen, which are impaired caused by PD.

Conclusions: Areas associated with PD were activated by the acupuncture stimulation on GB34. This shows that acupuncture treatment on GB34 may be effective in improving the symptoms of PD. Although more randomized controlled trials on the topic will be needed, this study shows that acupuncture may be helpful in the treatment of symptoms involving PD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points
  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Caudate Nucleus / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Putamen / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Substantia Nigra / physiology
  • Thalamus / physiology