Brain activation associated with changes in heart rate, heart rate variability, and plasma catecholamines during rectal distention

Shin Fukudo, Hideaki Suzuki, Satoshi Watanabe, Toyohiro Hamaguchi, Hirotaka Mine, Takahiro Terui, Motoyori Kanazawa, Noriko Oohisa, Mitsuya Maruyama, Tomoyuki Yambe, Masatoshi Itoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To test the hypothesis that gut stimulation provokes autonomic arousal via activation of regional cerebral cortices. How the human brain processes interoceptive signals and forms initial autonomic arousal is one of the key questions to be answered in research on emotion. Methods: Twelve healthy males participated in this study. A barostat bag was inserted in the rectum and intermittently inflated with 0, 20, or 40 mm Hg at random for 80 seconds. H2 15O positron emission tomography (PET) of the brain, electrocardiography, and blood sampling for catecholamines were performed. Changes in regional cerebral blood flow were interpreted using statistical parametric mapping. Results: Rectal distention with 40 mm Hg induced a significant increase in heart rate, low frequency (LF)/high frequency (HF) ratio of heart rate variability, and plasma adrenaline. Activated brain areas that were associated with increased heart rate during rectal distention were the right insula, right operculum, right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, putamen, thalamus, periaqueductal gray, and cerebellum (p =.001, uncorrected), whereas those that were associated with an increased LF/HF ratio were the bilateral insula, putamen, thalamus, midbrain, pons, and cerebellum (p =.001, uncorrected). Activated brain areas that were associated with increased plasma adrenaline were the right insula, right orbitofrontal cortex, right parahippocampal gyrus, putamen, thalamus, periaqueductal gray, pons, and cerebellum (p =.001, uncorrected). Conclusion: Our results suggest that the right insula and the related body mapping regions may form the functional module of sympathetic arousal in response to gut stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-626
Number of pages8
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Volume71
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jul

Keywords

  • Catecholamine
  • Heart rate
  • Heart rate variability
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Rectal distention
  • Visceral perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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