Acupuncture stimulation induces neurogenesis in adult brain

Int Rev Neurobiol. 2013:111:67-90. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-411545-3.00004-3.


The discovery of adult neurogenesis was a turning point in the field of neuroscience. Adult neurogenesis offers an enormous possibility to open a new therapeutic paradigm of neurodegenerative diseases and stroke. Recently, several studies suggested that acupuncture may enhance adult neurogenesis. Acupuncture has long been an important treatment for brain diseases in the East Asia. The scientific mechanisms of acupuncture treatment for the diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and stroke, have not been clarified yet; however, the neurogenic effect of acupuncture can be a possible reason. Here, we have reviewed the studies on the effect of stimulation at various acupoints for neurogenesis, such as ST36 and GV20. The suggested mechanisms are also discussed including upregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, basic fibroblast growth factor and neuropeptide Y, and activation of the function of primo vascular system.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Adult neurogenesis; Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*