Acupuncture treatment modulates the resting-state functional connectivity of brain regions in migraine patients without aura

Chin J Integr Med. 2016 Apr;22(4):293-301. doi: 10.1007/s11655-015-2042-4. Epub 2015 Apr 6.


Objective: To investigate the modulatory effect of acupuncture treatment on the resting-state functional connectivity of brain regions in migraine without aura (MWoA) patients.

Methods: Twelve MWoA patients were treated with standard acupuncture treatment for 4 weeks. All MWoA patients received resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning before and after acupuncture treatment. Another 12 normal subjects matched in age and gender were recruited to serve as healthy controls. The changes of restingstate functional connectivity in MWoA patients before and after the acupuncture treatment and those with the healthy controls were compared.

Results: Before acupuncture treatment, the MWoA patients had significantly decreased functional connectivity in certain brain regions within the frontal and temporal lobe when compared with the healthy controls. After acupuncture treatment, brain regions showing decreased functional connectivity revealed significant reduction in MWoA patients compared with before acupuncture treatment.

Conclusions: Acupuncture treatment could increase the functional connectivity of brain regions in the intrinsic decreased brain networks in MWoA patients. The results provided further insights into the interpretation of neural mechanisms of acupuncture treatment for migraine.

Keywords: acupuncture; functional connectivity; functional magnetic resonance imaging; migraine without aura; resting-state.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Migraine without Aura / physiopathology*
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Rest*
  • Treatment Outcome