Feulgen reaction study of novel threadlike structures (Bonghan ducts) on the surfaces of mammalian organs

Hak Soo Shin, Hyeon Min Johng, Byung Cheon Lee, Sung Il Cho, Kyung Soon Soh, Ku Youn Baik, Jung Sun Yoo, Kwang Sup Soh

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


Threadlike structures on the surfaces of internal organs, which are thought to be part of the Bonghan duct system, were first reported about 40 years ago, but have been largely ignored since then. Recently, they were rediscovered, and in this study we discuss the Feulgen reaction that specifically stains DNA in order to identify these structures on the surface of rabbit livers as part of the Bonghan system. The distribution, shapes, and sizes of their nuclei are found to be similar to those of intravascular threadlike structures. The endothelial nuclei are rod-shaped, 10-20 μm long, and aligned in a broken-line striped fashion. The threadlike structure consists of a bundle of several subducts, which is a characteristic feature of Bonghan ducts and distinguishes them morphologically from lymphatic vessels. In addition, the Feulgen reaction clearly demonstrates that the subducts pass through a corpuscle, which is usually irregular or oval-shaped and is connected to two or several threadlike structures that form a web on the surfaces of organs. Furthermore, spherical granules of about 1 μm in diameter are detected in the subducts. These granules were well stained by using the Feulgen reaction, which implies that they contain DNA. According to previous reports, a granule is a type of microcell and plays an essential role in the physiology and therapeutic effect of the Bonghan system and acupuncture. This role has yet to be elucidated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalAnatomical Record - Part B New Anatomist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005


  • Acupuncture
  • Bonghan duct
  • Feulgen reaction
  • Histology
  • Meridian
  • Microscopic anatomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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