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J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Oct;14(8):1017-25. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0115.

Congenital syndromes involving the lungs: pathogenetic models based on chinese medicine theories.

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  • 1Department of Medical Genetics, China Medical University, Shenyang, China.



Striking similarity seems to exist between the Jing-Luo and Zang-Fu theories of Chinese Medicine (CM) and clinical features of many so-called multiple congenital anomaly/mental retardation syndromes (MCA/MRs), as both may involve multiple organs and/or body systems.


Comparison of MCA/MRs involving the lungs and paths of 5 Jing-Mai traversing the organ has suggested that development of lung and radial ray (embryonic structure that gives rise to radial-side structures of the upper limb, in particular thumb and radius) are closely connected. The Lung Jing-Mai and those traversing the Kidneys may well explain combined malformations involving the lungs, radial ray, and the body's developmental midline. Furthermore, Zang-Fu theories such as "The Lungs rule the skin and body hair," and "The Lungs as a Zang pair with the Large Intestine" also seem to be in keeping with syndromes simultaneously affecting the lungs, colon, and skin. It may be deducible that the Jing-Mai, as described by CM, probably exists, and that the Jing-Mai and Zang-Fu theories have correctly summarized the connections between particular parts of the human body during embryonic development.


The CM theories therefore may provide important insights into the pathogenesis of relevant diseases as well as clues for development of new treatment for lung-related diseases.

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