This study aimed to investigate changes in resting state brain activity in remissive Crohn's Disease (CD) patients after electro-acupuncture or moxibustion treatment. Fifty-two CD patients and 36 healthy subjects were enrolled, and 36 patients were equally and randomly assigned to receive either electro-acupuncture or moxibustion treatment for twelve weeks. We used resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess Regional Homogeneity (ReHo) levels, and Crohn's Disease Activity Index (CDAI) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ) scores to evaluate disease severity and quality of life. The results show that (i) The ReHo levels in CD patients were significantly increased in cortical but decreased in subcortical areas, and the coupling between them was declined. (ii) Both treatments decreased CDAI, increased IBDQ scores, and normalized the ReHo values of the cortical and subcortical regions. (iii) ReHo changes in multiple cortical regions were significantly correlated with CDAI score decreases. ReHo changes in several subcortical regions in the electro-acupuncture group, and those of several cortical regions in the moxibustion group, were correlated with reduced CDAI. These findings suggest that both treatments improved cortex-subcortical coupling in remissive CD patients, but electro-acupuncture regulated homeostatic afferent processing network, while moxibustion mainly regulated the default mode network of the brain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas