Brain Res Bull. 1993 ; 30(1-2): 53-67.
The acupuncture point and its connecting central pathway for producing acupuncture analgesia.
Department of Physiology, School of Medicine Showa University, Tokyo, Japan.
Characteristics of the acupuncture point in producing acupuncture analgesia (AA) were examined by the inhibition of noxious responses in the brain stem reticular formation, potentials, and neuronal activity in the dorsal periaqueductal central gray (D-PAG), and analgesia caused by low frequency stimulation of the acupuncture point. As a result, stimulation of the muscle beneath the acupuncture point was found to be effective in producing AA. AA measured by tail flick, vocalization, and writhing tests was abolished by hypophysectomy, and by antiserum of beta-endorphin administered into the 3rd ventricle. The pathway from the D-PAG to the anterior hypothalamus (AA-AH) in the AA afferent pathway from the acupuncture point to the pituitary gland was determined. The lateral hypothalamus, lateral septum, cingulate bundle, dorsal-hippocampus, and habenulo-interpeduncular tract were found, in addition to regions previously found, to belong to the AA afferent pathway. A network of divergence and convergence in their rostral and caudal relations was observed. The AA afferent pathway diverges from the D-PAG, converges to the HP, and then projects to the AA-AH.