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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Jul 2023 - 7 Jul 2023

Clinical, Integrative/Complementary

Human Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Neuroimaging, Neuromodulation


2023 Jun 30

Front Med


Discovery of the mechanisms of acupuncture in the treatment of migraine based on functional magnetic resonance imaging and omics.


Li C, Li X, He K, Wu Y, Xie X, Yang J, Zhang F, Yue Y, Hao H, Zhao S, Li X, Tian G


Migraine is one of the most prevalent and disabling neurological disease, but the current pharmacotherapies show limited efficacy and often accompanied by adverse effects. Acupuncture is a promising complementary therapy, but further clinical evidence is needed. The influence of acupuncture on migraine is not an immediate effect, and its mechanism remains unclear. This study aims to provide further clinical evidence for the anti-migraine effects of acupuncture and explore the mechanism involved. A randomized controlled trial was performed among 10 normal controls and 38 migraineurs. The migraineurs were divided into blank control, sham acupuncture, and acupuncture groups. Patients were subjected to two courses of treatment, and each treatment lasted for 5 days, with an interval of 1 day between the two courses. The effectiveness of treatment was evaluated using pain questionnaire. The functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were analyzed for investigating brain changes induced by treatments. Blood plasma was collected for metabolomics and proteomics studies. Correlation and mediation analyses were performed to investigate the interaction between clinical, fMRI and omics changes. Results showed that acupuncture effectively relieved migraine symptoms in a way different from sham acupuncture in terms of curative effect, affected brain regions, and signaling pathways. The anti-migraine mechanism involves a complex network related to the regulation of the response to hypoxic stress, reversal of brain energy imbalance, and regulation of inflammation. The brain regions of migraineurs affected by acupuncture include the lingual gyrus, default mode network, and cerebellum. The effect of acupuncture on patients’ metabolites/proteins may precede that of the brain.