Acupuncture, connective tissue, and peripheral sensory modulation

Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr. 2014;24(3):249-53. doi: 10.1615/critreveukaryotgeneexpr.2014008284.


Although considerable controversy surrounds the legitimacy of acupuncture as a treatment, a growing literature on the physiological effects of acupuncture needling in animals and humans is providing new insights into basic cellular mechanisms including connective tissue mechanotransduction and purinergic signaling. This review summarizes these findings and proposes a model combining connective tissue plasticity and peripheral sensory modulation in response to the sustained stretching of tissue that results from acupuncture needle manipulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Connective Tissue / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Needles
  • Purinergic Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Analgesics
  • Purinergic Agents