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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 103491, 6 pages
Research Article

An fMRI Study of Neuronal Specificity in Acupuncture: The Multiacupoint Siguan and Its Sham Point

1Department of Radiology, Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University, 45 Changchunjie, Xicheng District, Beijing 100053, China
2Beijing Key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Brain Informatics, Beijing 100053, China
3General Hospital of Chinese People’s Armed Police Forces, Beijing 100053, China
4Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100053, China

Received 14 May 2014; Accepted 29 July 2014; Published 26 November 2014

Academic Editor: Lijun Bai

Copyright © 2014 Yi Shan 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.


Clarifying the intrinsic mechanisms of acupuncture’s clinical effects has recently been gaining popularity. Here, we choose the Siguan acupoint (a combination of bilateral LI4 and Liv3) and its sham point to evaluate multiacupoint specificity. Thirty-one healthy volunteers were randomly divided into real acupoint (21 subjects) and sham acupoint (10 subjects) groups. Our study used a single block experimental design to avoid the influence of posteffects. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired during acupuncture stimulation. Results showed extensive increase in neuronal activities with Siguan acupuncture and significant differences between stimulation at real and sham points. Brain regions that were activated more by real acupuncture stimulation than by sham point acupuncture included somatosensory cortex (the superior parietal lobule and postcentral gyrus), limbic-paralimbic system (the calcarine gyrus, precuneus, cingulate cortex, and parahippocampal gyrus), visual-related cortex (the fusiform and occipital gyri), basal ganglia, and the cerebellum. In this way, our study suggests Siguan may elicit specific activities in human brain.