A functional magnetic resonance imaging study on the effect of acupuncture at GB34 (Yanglingquan) on motor-related network in hemiplegic patients

Brain Res. 2015 Mar 19:1601:64-72. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2015.01.011. Epub 2015 Jan 16.


Background: Functional disability of stroke patients, especially limb motor function, seriously impacts the quality of life. Although acupuncture at GB34 (Yang-ling-quan) has been shown to be effective on the recovery of motor function, the underlying mechanism has not been well explored.

Objective: To explore the central mechanisms of immediate effect of acupuncture at GB34 on motor-related network of stroke patients with hemiplegia.

Methods: A repeated measures ANOVA method was employed to investigate the effect of acupuncture at GB34 on functional connectivity of motor-related network. Six stroke patients with left hemiplegia were recruited. A left hand motor task fMRI experiment was performed before and right after acupuncture. Sham point acupuncture was taken as control. The most significant fMRI signal changes during motor task in the right precentral gyrus were identified, which was selected as a seed point for connectivity analysis. Then the functional connectivity of this seed point was compared between verum and sham point acupuncture.

Results: Compared to sham, acupuncture at GB34 showed positive interaction effect at right temporal pole, left lingual gyrus, and left cerebellum. While negative interaction effect mainly occurred at contralateral motor cortex and ipsilateral motor cortex of lower limb.

Conclusions: Acupuncture at GB34 may increase motor-cognition connectivity meanwhile decrease compensation of unaffected motor cortex and homolateral synkinesis, which can definitely promote the rehabilitation of hemiplegia and spasm.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Functional connectivity; GB34 (Yanglingquan); Hemiplegia; fMRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Aged
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Hemiplegia / etiology
  • Hemiplegia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Treatment Outcome