Thursday, May 23, 2013

Acupuncture and connective tissue

A recent article in TheScientist proposes a novel theory about how acupuncture may produce some of its therapeutic effects.

It turns out that when an acupuncture needle is inserted into the connective tissue under the skin and twisted, the needle becomes wound with connective fibers in much the same way as noodles enwrap a fork as it twirls.  This pulls on fibroblasts and causes local changes that may be transmitted throughout a large area of connective tissue and possibly produce therapeutic effects.

ATP released from stretched fibroblasts may also contribute to a pain-relieving effect.

An interesting new direction for further study.  And a good little story to weave into a discussion of fibrous connective tissues in our A&P course to illustrate that "it's not just glue."

Want to know more?

The Science of Stretch
  • H.M. Langevin
  • TheScientist published online 1 May 2013
  • Article summarizing the context and results of the research.  Includes nice graphic showing stretched fibers wrapped around a needle.

Biomechanical response to acupuncture needling in humans
  • Helene M. Langevin
  • Journal of Applied Physiology December 1, 2001 vol. 91 no. 6 2471-2478
  • The original research article.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Very nice blog. Thanks for the post. Definitely share it to others. Maybe you can do topics bout latest technological news. You have a great way of writing.The special connective tissue cartilage, bone and blood – each have unique cells and extracellular matrices that allow specialized functions.
I. Cartilage
• Cartilage is a soft skeletal tissue. It is not rigid like bone.
• It is found more abundantly in vertebrate embryo because most of the bones forming skeleton of the adult are cartilaginous in the early stage.
Structure of cartilage
• A typical cartilage consists of cartilage cells and ground substance (matrix).
(i) Cartilage cells or chondrocytes : They are present in a fluid-filled space, called lacunae within the cartilage ground substance. Young cartilage cells (chondroblasts) are small and flattened whereas mature cartilage cells (chrondrocytes) are large and rounded.
(ii) Ground substance (matrix) : It essentially consists of water, proteoglycans, some lipid, collagen, non-collagenous protein and fibres. The core protein is aggrecan. Carbohydrates are glucosaminoglycans (GAG) including chondroitin sulphate, keratin sulphate and hyaluronic acid.
Chondrocytes remain alive, even though there are no blood vessels in the cartilage matrix, because they receive oxygen and nutrients by diffusion through ground substance from surrounding blood vessels. This diffusion can only occur because cartilage matrix is not calcified.

Specialised connective tissue

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