Research Progress of Neural Tracing Technique on the Morphological Study of Acupuncture
SHE Chen，W ANG Jia, HA Lijuan，CUI Jingjing，XU Dongsheng，BAI Wanzhu
(1 Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China; 2 Changchun University of Chinese Medicine, Changchun 130117)
Abstract: Objective: To analysis the research progress and characteristics of neural tracing technique for the morphological study of acupuncture, and reveal the effect of this technology, also provide neuroanatomical evidences for the optimization of morphological research plans. Methods: Five databases were searched from their inception: CNKI (1979-2017), Wan-Fang Data (1990-2017), VIP Data (1990-2017) and PUBMED (1989-2017). Studies related to the neural tracing technique for the acupuncture researches were included. The research status on neural tracing technique for acupuncture researches would be analyzed from the aspects of acupuncture points, meridians, acupoint-visceral correlation and chemical feature. Results: Ninety-two researches were included after electronic searching. The neural tracing technique had been used in the field of acupuncture for almost 34 years (1983-2007). The studies mainly focused on the innervations of acupuncture points and meridians, the neuroanatomical correlation of acupuncture points and visceral, the chemical feature of acupuncture points and the other aspects. Rats, rabbits and cats were the commonly used animals, while SD rats were the most frequently used ones, which took up to 54.3% (50/92). HRP and CTB were the mainly applied neural tracers, and the percentage were 55.4% (51/92) and 18.5%(17/92), respectively. Acupuncture points were the most commonly used positions for injection, with a percentage of 53.3% (49/92). Among all the 63 acupuncture points, ST36 (Zusanli) was the most frequently used acupuncture point, which accounted for 17.5% (11/63). The survival time for animals was range from 1 day to 12 weeks. About 43.5% (40/92) researches perfused with 4% paraformaldehyde, which had took up the largest portion. Besides, the main neural labeling were neurons and nerve fibers. Conclusions: Over 30 years, the neural tracing technique has been widely applied in the morphological studies of acupuncture. By using this technology, the innervations of acupuncture points and meridians can be revealed, and the neuroanatomical correlation between acupoint and visceral can also be illustrated. Besides, by analyzing the neural pathways and the chemical feature, the ways in which acupuncture may effect can be further obtained. These can not only promote the further development of the acupuncture morphological research, but also provide the neuroanatomical evidences for the targeted selection of acupuncture points for clinical treatment.
Key words: acupuncture, neural tracing technique, morphology, neural pathway