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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 860463, 11 pages
Research Article

Brain-Gut Axis Modulation of Acupuncture in Functional Dyspepsia: A Preliminary Resting-State fcMRI Study

1Department of Radiology, Guang An Men Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100053, China
2Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA
3Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Guang An Men Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100053, China
4Department of Health Care Studies, Daemen College, Amherst, NY 14226, USA
5Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China
6Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Received 22 July 2015; Accepted 20 September 2015

Academic Editor: Morry Silberstein

Copyright © 2015 Jiliang Fang 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.


Objective. To explore acupuncture effects on brain functional connectivity in patients with functional dyspepsia (FD). Methods. Eight patients in an acupuncture treatment group and ten healthy adults in the control group participated in the study. Acupuncture effectiveness was evaluated based on changes of the gastrointestinal symptoms, gastric motility measurements, and gastrin levels and comparisons with the control group when appropriate. To investigate functional connectivity changes related to FD and potential modulation after acupuncture, a set of regions of interest (ROIs) were selected according to previous fMRI reports of acupuncture. Results. Patients showed significant improvements of FD signs and symptoms after acupuncture treatments. For all of the ROIs, we identified subportions of the networks showing reduced connectivity in patients with FD. Connectivity between the ROIs and corresponding disease targets showed significant improvement after acupuncture treatment () in all ROIs except for right medial temporal lobe-hippocampus and right inferior parietal lobule. Conclusion. Functional connectivity of the brain is changed in patients with FD but approximates that in healthy control after acupuncture treatment. The relief of gastrointestinal signs and symptoms by acupuncture is likely due to the normalization of brain-gut axis associated with FD.