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Front Hum Neurosci. 2017 Nov 17;11:559. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00559. eCollection 2017.

Effect of Electro-Acupuncture and Moxibustion on Brain Connectivity in Patients with Crohn's Disease: A Resting-State fMRI Study.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Acupuncture and Immunological Effects, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.
2
Life Sciences Research Center, School of Life Sciences and Technology, Xidian University, Xi'an, China.
3
Outpatient Department, Shanghai Research Institute of Acupuncture and Meridian, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.
4
Stark Neurosciences Research Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, United States.
5
Department of Gastroenterology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
6
Department of Radiology, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.

Abstract

Acupuncture and moxibustion have been shown to be effective in treating Crohn's disease (CD), but their therapeutic mechanisms remain unclear. Here we compared brain responses to either electro-acupuncture or moxibustion treatment in CD patients experiencing remission. A total of 65 patients were randomly divided into an electro-acupuncture group (n = 32) or a moxibustion group (n = 33), and treated for 12 weeks. Eighteen patients in the electro-acupuncture group and 20 patients in the moxibustion group underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging at baseline and after treatment. Seed-based analysis was used to compare the resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) between bilateral hippocampus and other brain regions before and after the treatments, as well as between the two groups. The CD activity index (CDAI) and inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire (IBDQ) were used to evaluate disease severity and patient quality of life. Electro-acupuncture and moxibustion both significantly reduced CDAI values and increased IBDQ scores. In the electro-acupuncture group, the rsFC values between bilateral hippocampus and anterior middle cingulate cortex (MCC) and insula were significantly increased, and the changes were negatively correlated with the CDAI scores. In the moxibustion group, the rsFC values between bilateral hippocampus and precuneus as well as inferior parietal lobe (IPC) were significantly elevated, and the changes were negatively correlated with the CDAI scores. We conclude that the therapeutic effects of electro-acupuncture and moxibustion on CD may involve the differently modulating brain homeostatic afferent processing network and default mode network (DMN), respectively.

KEYWORDS:

Crohn’s disease; acupuncture; fMRI; functional connectivity; moxibustion

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