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The Instant and Sustained Effect of Electroacupuncture in Postgraduate Students with Depression: An fMRI Study

Authors Wei X, Chen H, Guo C, Tan W, Zhan S

Received 17 February 2021

Accepted for publication 8 March 2021

Published 19 March 2021 Volume 2021:17 Pages 873—883

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S307083

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Yuping Ning


Xiang-yu Wei, Hui Chen, Cui Guo, Wen-li Tan, Song-hua Zhan

Department of Radiology, Shuguang Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, 201203, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Song-hua Zhan; Hui Chen
Department of Radiology, Shuguang Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 528 Zhangheng Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, 201203, People’s Republic of China
Email [email protected]; [email protected]

Objection: This study was a primary study to evaluate the instant and sustained effect of electroacupuncture (EA) at GV20 (Baihui) in postgraduate students with mild depression by using a special flexible head coil.
Methods: A total of 20 postgraduate students with mild depression underwent EA stimulation at GV20 and 3 phases of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) scanning. Phase I: Preparation (before needle insertion); Phase II: during EA; Phase III: 15 minutes after needle removal. The Rs-fMRI data were processed using DPABI and SPSS 25.
Results: 1) ReHo values showed significantly differences in the right posterior cingulate cortex, right calcarine gyrus, right angular gyrus, right precuneus, right cuneus, and bilateral postcentral gyri among Phase I, Phase II and Phase III; 2) Relative to the Phase I, increased brain activity in the Phase II was observed in the bilateral postcentral gyri, right calcarine gyrus, right cuneus. Compared with the Phase II, decreased brain activity in the Phase III was observed in the right precuneus, right posterior cingulate cortex, right angular gyrus. Relative to the Phase I, Significantly increased brain activity in the Phase III was observed in the right calcarine gyrus, right cuneus, and bilateral postcentral gyri. While decreased ReHo values were found in the right posterior cingulate cortex, right angular gyrus, right precuneus; and 3) Correlation analysis showed that the ReHo values of multiple brain regions in Phase I and Phase III were significantly correlated with the VAS and HRSD-17 scores.
Conclusion: This study focuses on the instant and sustained effect in postgraduate students with depression. Our study showed that instant effect produced by EA stimulation at GV20 firstly induced changes in somatosensory and visual area, and then, sustained effect (Phase III) have a higher intensity and more extensive than instant effects. Meanwhile, we provide a visualization way to study the instant effects of head acupoints by using a flexible head coil.

Keywords: acupuncture, functional magnetic resonance imaging; fMRI, depression, default mode network; DMN, neuroimaging

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