The Journal of Physiological Sciences

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 165–170 | Cite as

Blood pressure-independent increase in the cortical cerebral blood flow induced by manual acupuncture of the auricular region in rats

  • Sae UchidaEmail author
  • Hiroshi Taniguchi
  • Yoshie Ito
  • Fusako Kagitani
Short Communication


We aimed to determine whether acupuncture to the auricular region increases cortical regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF). The rCBF was measured using laser speckle contrast imaging in urethane-anesthetized rats. Acupuncture stimulation was performed manually at the auricular concha or abdomen. The former’s stimulation significantly increased the rCBF of the bilateral cerebral cortex in the frontal, parietal, and occipital lobes without altering the systemic arterial pressure. In contrast, abdominal stimulation affected neither rCBF nor systemic arterial pressure. The increase in the rCBF was completely abolished by the severance of the somatic nerves that innervated the auricular region, comprising the trigeminal nerve, facial nerve, auricular branch of the vagal nerve, glossopharyngeal nerve, and great auricular nerve. Thus, application of acupuncture to the auricular region increases the rCBF without increasing arterial pressure.


Manual acupuncture Auricular region Cortical cerebral blood flow Somatic afferent nerves Rats 


Author contributions

SU and FK conceived and designed the research; all authors performed experiments, analyzed data, and interpreted results of experiments; SU drafted the manuscript; SU and FK edited and revised the manuscript; and all authors approved the final manuscript.


This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant number 15K08225 to S.U.).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© The Physiological Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Autonomic NeuroscienceTokyo Metropolitan Institute of GerontologyTokyoJapan

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