The right hemisphere and the human stress response.
ABSTRACT Evidence is presented that most components of the human stress response are influenced asymmetrically by the cerebral hemispheres. The right hemisphere is endowed with a unique response system preparing the organism to deal efficiently with external challenges. Therefore, both the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis and the sympathetic-adrenomedullary (SA) axis seem to be under the main control of the right hemisphere.
- SourceAvailable from: Gustavo R Pedrino[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) and lateral/dorsolateral periaqueductal gray (PAG) are anatomically and functionally connected. Both the DMH and PAG depend on glutamatergic inputs for activation. We recently reported that removal of GABA-ergic tone in the unilateral DMH produces: asymmetry, that is, a right- (R-) sided predominance in cardiac chronotropism, and lateralization, that is, a greater increase in ipsilateral renal sympathetic activity (RSNA). In the current study, we investigated whether excitatory amino acid (EAA) receptors in the DMH-PAG pathway contribute to the functional interhemispheric difference. In urethane (1.2 to 1.4 g/kg, i.p.) anesthetized rats, we observed that: (i) nanoinjections of N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA 100 pmol/100 nl) into the unilateral DMH produced the same right-sided predominance in the control of cardiac chronotropy, (ii) nanoinjections of NMDA into the ipsilateral DMH or PAG evoked lateralized RSNA responses, and (iii) blockade of EAA receptors in the unilateral DMH attenuated the cardiovascular responses evoked by injection of NMDA into either the R- or left- (L-) PAG. In awake rats, nanoinjection of kynurenic acid (1 nmol/100 nL) into the L-DMH or R- or L-PAG attenuated the tachycardia evoked by air stress. However, the magnitude of stress-evoked tachycardia was smallest when the EAA receptors of the R-DMH were blocked. We conclude that EAA receptors contribute to the right-sided predominance in cardiac chronotropism. This interhemispheric difference that involves EAA receptors was observed in the DMH but not in the PAG.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(11):e112412. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mounting evidence suggest that the right-hemisphere (RH) has a relative advantage, over the left-hemisphere (LH), in mediating social intelligence - identifying social stimuli, understanding the intentions of other people, awareness of the dynamics in social relationships, and successful handling of social interactions. Furthermore, a review and synthesis of the literature suggest that pro-social attitudes and behaviors are associated with physiological activity in the RH, whereas unsocial and anti-social tendencies are mediated primarily by the LH. This hemispheric asymmetry is rooted in several neurobiological and functional differences between the two hemispheres. (I) Positive social interactions often require inhibiting one's immediate desires and considering the perspectives and needs of others. Given that self-control is mediated by the RH, pro-social emotions and behaviors are, therefore, inherently associated with the RH as it subserves the brain's self-restraint mechanisms. (II) The RH mediates experiences of vulnerability. It registers the relative clumsiness and motor weakness of the left limbs, and it is involved, more than the LH, in processing threats and mediating fear. Emotional states of vulnerability trigger the need for affiliation and sociality, therefore the RH has a greater role in mediating pro-social attitudes and behaviors. (III) The RH mediates a holistic mode of representing the world. Holistic perception emphasizes similarities rather than differences, takes a long-term perspective, is associated with divergent thinking and seeing other points-of-view, and it mediates a personal mode of relating to people. All these features of holistic perception facilitate a more empathetic attitude toward others and pro-social behaviors.Experimental neurobiology. 03/2014; 23(1):1-27.
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ABSTRACT: Our survival and wellness require a balance between optimism and pessimism. Undue pessimism makes life miserable; however, excessive optimism can lead to dangerously risky behaviors. A review and synthesis of the literature on the neurophysiology subserving these two worldviews suggests that optimism and pessimism are differentially associated with the two cerebral hemispheres. High self-esteem, a cheerful attitude that tends to look at the positive aspects of a given situation, as well as an optimistic belief in a bright future are associated with physiological activity in the left-hemisphere (LH). In contrast, a gloomy viewpoint, an inclination to focus on the negative part and exaggerate its significance, low self-esteem as well as a pessimistic view on what the future holds are interlinked with neurophysiological processes in the right-hemisphere (RH). This hemispheric asymmetry in mediating optimistic and pessimistic outlooks is rooted in several biological and functional differences between the two hemispheres. The RH mediation of a watchful and inhibitive mode weaves a sense of insecurity that generates and supports pessimistic thought patterns. Conversely, the LH mediation of an active mode and the positive feedback it receives through its motor dexterity breed a sense of confidence in one's ability to manage life's challenges, and optimism about the future.Experimental neurobiology. 09/2013; 22(3):173-199.