Points - Recent Research
Commonality and Specificity of Acupuncture Action at Three Acupoints as Evidenced by FMRI
Eucommia Leaf Extract Prevents OVX-Induced Osteoporosis and Obesity in Rats
The Root Bark of Paeonia Moutan is a Potential Anticancer Agent in Human Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells

Commonality and Specificity of Acupuncture Action at Three Acupoints as Evidenced by FMRI

Claunch JD, et al. Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, USA.

Previous work from our team and others has shown that manual acupuncture at LI4 (hegu), ST36 (zusanli), and LV3 (taichong) deactivates a limbic-paralimbic-neocortical brain network, and at the same time activates somatosensory regions of the brain. The objective of the present study was to explore the specificity and commonality of the brain response to manual acupuncture at LI4, ST36, and LV3, acupoints that are located on different meridians and are used to treat pain disorders. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor the brain responses to acupuncture at three different acupoints; we examined 46 healthy subjects who, according to their psychophysical responses, experienced deqi sensation during acupuncture. Brain responses to stimulation at each of the acupoints were displayed in conjunction with one another to show the spatial distribution. We found clusters of deactivation in the medial prefrontal, medial parietal and medial temporal lobes showing significant convergence of two or all three of the acupoints. The largest regions showing common responses to all three acupoints were the right subgenual BA25, right subgenual cingulate, right isthmus of the cingulum bundle, and right BA31. We also noted differences in major sections of the medial prefrontal and medial temporal lobes, with LI4 predominating in the pregenual cingulate and hippocampal formation, ST36 predominating in the subgenual cingulate, and LV3 predominating in the posterior hippocampus and posterior cingulate. The results suggest that although these acupoints are commonly used for anti-pain and modulatory effects, they may mobilize the same intrinsic global networks, with substantial overlap of common brain regions to mediate their actions. Our findings showing preferential response of certain limbic-paralimbic structures suggests acupoints may also exhibit relative specificity.

Am J Chin Med. 2012;40(4):695-712.

Source: PubMed

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Eucommia Leaf Extract Prevents OVX-Induced Osteoporosis and Obesity in Rats

Zhang W, et al. Faculty of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Suzuka University of Medical Science, Mie, Japan.

The cortex of Eucommia ulmoides Oliver is widely used to treat kidney deficiency in traditional Chinese medicine. Its leaves have recently been reported to have anti-obesity properties in metabolic syndrome-like rat models. Due to a sharp decline in estrogen production, obesity, together with osteoporosis, are common problems in postmenopausal women. In this study, we examined the potential effect of Eucommia leaf extract (ELE) in preventing osteoporosis and obesity induced by ovariectomy (OVX). Forty-six female Wistar rats were divided into six groups: Sham-Cont, OVX-Cont, and four OVX groups administered estradiol and different concentrations of ELE 1.25%, ELE 2.5%, and ELE 5%. Treatments were administered after ovariectomy at six weeks of age and continued for 12 weeks. OVX induced a significant decrease in the bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar, femora, and tibiae, together with a marked increase in body mass index (BMI). The administration of 5% ELE led to a significant increase in tibial and femoral BMD, as well as significantly increased bone-strength parameters when compared with OVX-Cont rats. According to the suppressed Dpd and increased osteocalcin concentrations in ELE 5% rats, we suggest that varying proportions of bone formation and bone absorption contributed to the enhanced BMD in the femora and tibiae. In addition, significant decreases in body weight, BMI and fat tissue in 5% ELE rats were also observed. These results suggest that ELE may have curative properties for BMD and BMI in OVX rats, and could provide an alternative therapy for the prevention of both postmenopausal osteoporosis and obesity.

Am J Chin Med. 2012;40(4):735-52.

Source: PubMed

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The Root Bark of Paeonia Moutan is a Potential Anticancer Agent in Human Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells

Li C, et al. DDS, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry, Showa University, 2-1-1 Kitasenzoku, Ota-ku, Tokyo 145-8515, Japan. seikondo12@dent.showa-u.ac.jp.

Currently there is growing use of complementary and alternative anticancer medicines worldwide, and considerable interest in finding anticancer drugs among Chinese medicinal herbs. The aim of this study was to determine the antitumor activity of the root bark of Paeonia moutan (RBPM) in human squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells. Cell lines derived from human oral squamous cell carcinoma (HSC2, 3, 4, SAS) were tested with different concentrations of RBPM (1-100 μg/ml) using a series of in vitro assay systems. RBPM at a concentration of 100 μg/ml inhibited monolayer and anchorage-independent growth, and interrupted coordinated migration. RBPM activated the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and serine/threonine kinase AKT in 30 min; then, at a later stage (after 6 hours) exhibited potent cytostatic, pro-apoptotic effects through the down-regulation of the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and its partner cyclin D1, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage. We found direct evidence that RBPM induces apoptotic cell death via DNA fragmentation. Taken together, the antitumor activity of RBPM was demonstrated through antiproliferative and apoptotic effects.

Anticancer Res. 2012 Jul;32(7):2625-30.

Source: PubMed

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