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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 932581, 5 pages
Research Article

fMRI Evidence of Acupoints Specificity in Two Adjacent Acupoints

1Key Laboratory of Nuclear Analysis Techniques, Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
2Beijing Engineering Research Center of Radiographic Techniques and Equipment, Beijing 100049, China
3General Hospital of Chinese People’s Armed Police Forces, Beijing 100039, China

Received 21 February 2013; Accepted 28 March 2013

Academic Editor: Lijun Bai

Copyright © 2013 Hua Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. Acupoint specificity is the foundation of acupuncture treatment. The aim of this study is to investigate whether the acupoint specificity exists in two adjacent acupoints. Design and Setting. Two adjacent real acupoints, LR3 (Taichong) and ST44 (Neiting), and a nearby nonacupoint were selected. Thirty-three health volunteers were divided into three groups in random order, and each group only received acupuncture at one of the three points. While they received acupuncture, fMRI scan was performed. Results. The common cerebral activated areas responding to LR3 and ST44 included the contralateral primary somatosensory area (SI) and ipsilateral cerebellum. Acupuncture at LR3 specifically activated contralateral middle occipital gyrus, ipsilateral medial frontal gyrus, superior parietal lobe, middle temporal gyrus, rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC), lentiform nucleus, insula, and contralateral thalamus. Stimulation at ST44 selectively activated ipsilateral secondary somatosensory area (SII), contralateral middle frontal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, lingual gyrus, lentiform nucleus, and bilateral posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). Conclusions. Acupuncture at adjacent acupoints elicits distinct cerebral activation patterns, and those specific patterns might be involved in the mechanism of the specific therapeutic effects of different acupoints.