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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4173185, 9 pages
Research Article

Ipsilateral Putamen and Insula Activation by Both Left and Right GB34 Acupuncture Stimulation: An fMRI Study on Healthy Participants

1College of Korean Medicine, Sang Ji University, Wonju 26339, Republic of Korea
2Department of Meridian & Acupoint, College of Korean Medicine, WHO Collaborating Center for Traditional Medicine, East-West Medical Research Institute, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea
3Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 HR Nijmegen, Netherlands

Received 2 June 2016; Revised 25 September 2016; Accepted 15 November 2016

Academic Editor: Ching-Liang Hsieh

Copyright © 2016 Sujung Yeo 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.


The modulatory effects on the brain during right versus left side acupuncture stimulation of the same acupuncture point have been a subject of controversy. For clarification of this important methodological issue, the present study was designed to compare the blood oxygen level-dependent responses of acupuncture stimulation on the right versus left Yanglingquan (GB34). Twenty-two healthy subjects received right or left GB34 acupuncture. Our results show that acupuncture on the left GB34 induced neural responses in the left putamen, caudate body, insula, postcentral gyrus, claustrum, right and left thalamus, right middle frontal gyrus, hypothalamus, and subthalamic nucleus. Acupuncture on the right GB34 induced neural responses in the right middle frontal gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, thalamus, putamen, lateral globus pallidus, medial globus pallidus, and insula. Interestingly, the putamen and insula were ipsilaterally activated by acupuncture on either the left or right GB34; therefore, they seem to be the main target areas affected by GB34 acupuncture. This is the first reported functional magnetic resonance imaging study directly comparing needling on the right and left GB34. Although more replication studies are needed, our preliminary results prove that acupuncture has different modulatory effects on the brain when performed on the right versus left side.