Critchley HD, Mathias CJ, Josephs O, O'Doherty J, Zanini S, Dewar BK et al. Human cingulate cortex and autonomic control: converging neuroimaging and clinical evidence. Brain 126: 2139-2152

Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, University College London, London WC1N 3BG, UK.
Brain (Impact Factor: 9.2). 11/2003; 126(Pt 10):2139-52. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awg216
Source: PubMed


Human anterior cingulate function has been explained primarily within a cognitive framework. We used functional MRI experiments with simultaneous electrocardiography to examine regional brain activity associated with autonomic cardiovascular control during performance of cognitive and motor tasks. Using indices of heart rate variability, and high- and low-frequency power in the cardiac rhythm, we observed activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) related to sympathetic modulation of heart rate that was dissociable from cognitive and motor-related activity. The findings predict that during effortful cognitive and motor behaviour the dorsal ACC supports the generation of associated autonomic states of cardiovascular arousal. We subsequently tested this prediction by studying three patients with focal damage involving the ACC while they performed effortful cognitive and motor tests. Each showed abnormalities in autonomic cardiovascular responses with blunted autonomic arousal to mental stress when compared with 147 normal subjects tested in identical fashion. Thus, converging neuroimaging and clinical findings suggest that ACC function mediates context-driven modulation of bodily arousal states.

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    • "Some previous works on this topic have found that in HC some areas linked to the limbic system including regions of medial temporal lobe, insular lobe and prefrontal cortex (MacLean, 1949, 1952; Catani et al., 2013; Rolls, 2015) are activated during stress (Critchley et al., 2000a,b). Thus, the amygdalo-hippocampal complex, orbitofrontal cortex , anterior cingulum and insula have been shown to be activated by both mental and physical tests, which are useful to evoke an autonomic stress response (Critchley et al., 2003; Williamson et al., 1997; Soufer et al., 1998; Harper et al., 1998). Stressors which require the completion of demanding and uncontrollable cognitive challenges in a context of negative social evaluation, such as the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) induce increased activity of the medial prefrontal cortex (Kern et al., 2008; Urry et al., 2006), anterior cingulum (which may be of particular importance for generating autonomic cardiovascular responses; Critchley et al., 2000a,b, 2005; Critchley, 2005), insula (which probably works together with anterior cingulum, as both are components of a system underlying self awareness; Medford and Critchley, 2010), and deactivation of the hippocampalamygdala complex (Kern et al., 2008), probably to disinhibit the hypothalamus which commands the HPA and ANS (McEwen and Gianaros, 2010) responses. "
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    ABSTRACT: Environmental influences are critical for the expression of genes putatively related to the behavioral and cognitive phenotypes of schizophrenia. Among such factors, psychosocial stress has been proposed to play a major role in the expression of symptoms. However, it is unsettled how stress interacts with pathophysiological pathways to produce the disease. We studied 21 patients with schizophrenia and 21 healthy controls aged 18 to 50years with 3T-fMRI, in which a period of 6min of resting state acquisition was followed by a block design, with three blocks of 1-min control-task, 1-min stress-task and 1-min rest after-task. Self-report of stress and PANSS were measured. Limbic structures were activated in schizophrenia patients by simple tasks and remained active during, and shortly after stress. In controls, stress-related brain activation was more time-focused, and restricted to the stressful task itself. Negative symptom severity was inversely related to activation of anterior cingulum and orbitofrontal cortex. Results might represent the neurobiological aspect of hyper-reactivity to normal stressful situations previously described in schizophrenia, thus providing evidence on the involvement of limbic areas in the response to stress in schizophrenia. Patients present a pattern of persistent limbic activation probably contributing to hypervigilance and subsequent psychotic thought distortions. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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    • "Additionally, maximal squeeze paradigms can be run without the use of a dynamometer . For example, studies have used a cylinder [11] [12] [13] or a pressure transducer [13] for their hand grip task. In any case, it would seem that maximal squeezes can be done without the feedback component of the dynamometer. "
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    ABSTRACT: Isometric handgrip is commonly used in stress research because the task reliably increases sympathetic arousal. Various handgrip protocols have been used; they vary in handgrip strength, duration of grip, and the number of cycles of handgrip and rest. However, most protocols require the calibration of a maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) prior to the handgrip task, which is not always convenient (i.e., in a functional magnetic resonance imaging study). Here, we wanted to test whether two handgrip protocols with different strength, duration and cycle protocols would reliably elicit sympathetic arousal in the absence of calibrating an MVC. Sixty-two healthy naturally cycling women and women on hormonal contraception participated in one of the two isometric handgrip protocols using a hand therapy ball of medium resistance. Women completed one of the following handgrip protocols: 1) 30% of a perceived maximum voluntary contraction for 3 min or 2) 3 cycles of maximum voluntary contraction for 18 s with a one minute rest in between. All handgrip blocks were counterbalanced with a control condition. Sympathetic arousal was measured throughout the session via pupil diameter changes and salivary alpha-amylase. Results indicate that in the absence of calibrating an MVC, the handgrip tasks elicited different changes in sympathetic arousal. Pupil dilation responses increased significantly in the handgrip versus control blocks only in participants in the 18-s protocol. Additionally, more participants exhibited a salivary alpha-amylase response to the handgrip block in the 18-s condition compared to the 3-min condition. Thus, these results suggest that neuroimaging and behavioral studies with isometric handgrip should be able to successfully induce sympathetic nervous activity with the 18-s paradigm, regardless of the handgrip device and the ability to calibrate an MVC.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Physiology & Behavior
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    • "involving effort (Critchley et al., 2003), and consciousness more generally (Barrett & Bliss- Moreau, 2009; Craig, 2009; Damasio, 2000; Russell, 2003; Wundt, 1897). "

    Full-text · Chapter · Oct 2014
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