Diffusion Tensor Imaging Evaluates Effects of Acupoint Injection at Zusanli (ST36) for Type 2 Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Med Sci Monit. 2022 Jun 29;28:e935979. doi: 10.12659/MSM.935979.


BACKGROUND Acupoint injection is a therapeutic method that combines acupuncture and Western medicine and shows good curative effects for neuropathies. This study aimed to explore the efficacy of acupoint injection for treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) by magnetic resonance neuroimaging (MRN). MATERIAL AND METHODS Forty patients with DPN were randomly divided into an acupoint injection group (AI; n=20) and intramuscular injection group (MI; n=20). The AI group received an acupoint injection of mecobalamin at acupoint Zusanli (S36); the MI group received intramuscular injection of mecobalamin. The curative effect was evaluated by the Toronto Clinical Neuropathy Score and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). RESULTS The neuropathy scores of both groups decreased from baseline (AI 9.31±2.36; MI 9.34±2.54) to after the 2-week treatment (AI 7.12±1.87; MI 7.86±2.11); the differences were not significant. The fractional anisotropy (FA) value showed significant differences on the common peroneal nerve (AI 0.36±0.04; MI 0.31±0.05; P<0.05) and tibial nerve (AI 0.38±0.07; MI 0.34±0.06; P<0.05) after treatment. Likewise, apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values between groups showed significant differences for the common peroneal nerve (AI 1.44±0.17×10⁻³ mm²/s; MI 1.61±0.20×10⁻³ mm²/s; P<0.05) and tibial nerve (AI 1.54±0.22×10-3 mm²/s; MI 1.60±0.17 10⁻³ mm²/s; P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS Patients with DPN showed lower nerve FA and higher ADC in DTI-MRN. The acupoint injection of mecobalamin could treat DPN and repair the damaged nerves, which was shown by elevated FA and lowered ADC. Our study provides clinical evidence for the application of acupoint injection therapy and the evaluation of DPN by MRN.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Neuropathies* / drug therapy
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin B 12 / analogs & derivatives*


  • mecobalamin
  • Vitamin B 12