Modulation of functional activity and connectivity by acupuncture in patients with Alzheimer disease as measured by resting-state fMRI.

Author: Zheng W1, Su Z2, Liu X1, Zhang H1, Han Y3, Song H3, Lu J2, Li K2, Wang Z1
1Department of Radiology, Dongfang Hospital, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China.
2Department of Radiology, Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
3Department of Neurology, Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
Conference/Journal: PLoS One.
Date published: 2018 May 15
Other: Volume ID: 13 , Issue ID: 5 , Pages: e0196933 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196933. eCollection 2018. , Word Count: 256

Acupuncture has been used in the therapy of Alzheimer disease (AD); however, its neural mechanisms are still unclear. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of acupuncture on the functional connectivity in AD by using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). Twenty-eight subjects (14 AD and 14 normal controls) participated in this study. The rs-fMRI data were acquired before and after acupuncture stimulation at the acupoints of Tai chong (Liv3) and Hegu (LI4). During the baseline resting state, by using the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF), we found a significantly decreased or increased ALFF in the AD patients relative to the controls. These regions were located in the right superior frontal gyrus (SFG), left postcentral gyrus, subgenual cingulate cortex (SCC), right middle cingulate cortex (MCC), right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), right hippocampus and the right inferior temporal gyrus (ITG). Then, we selected these brain regions as seeds to investigate whether regional activity and functional connectivity could be modulated by acupuncture in the AD patients. When compared to the pre-acupuncture stage, several of the above regions showed an increased or decreased ALFF after acupuncture in the AD patients. In addition, the functional connectivity between the hippocampus and the precentral gyrus showed enhancement after acupuncture in the AD patients. Finally, there were close correlations between the functional activity, connectivity and clinical performance in the AD patients. The current study confirmed that acupuncture at Tai chong (Liv3) and He gu (LI4) can modulate functional activity and connectivity of specific cognition-related regions in AD patients.

PMID: 29763448 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196933