Neuroanatomical substrates for the volitional regulation of heart rate

Jones, Catherine L, Minati, Ludovico, Nagai, Yoko, Medford, Nick, Harrison, Neil A, Gray, Marcus, Ward, Jamie and Critchley, Hugo D (2015) Neuroanatomical substrates for the volitional regulation of heart rate. Frontiers in Psychology, 6 MAR: . doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00300

Author Jones, Catherine L
Minati, Ludovico
Nagai, Yoko
Medford, Nick
Harrison, Neil A
Gray, Marcus
Ward, Jamie
Critchley, Hugo D
Title Neuroanatomical substrates for the volitional regulation of heart rate
Journal name Frontiers in Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1664-1078
Publication date 2015-03-25
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00300
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 6
Issue MAR
Total pages 14
Place of publication Lausanne, Switzerland
Publisher Frontiers Research Foundation
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract The control of physiological arousal can assist in the regulation of emotional state. A subset cortical and subcortical brain regions are implicated in autonomic control of bodily arousal during emotional behaviors. Here, we combined human functional neuroimaging with autonomic monitoring to identify neural mechanisms that support the volitional regulation of heart rate, a process that may be assisted by visual feedback. During functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), 15 healthy adults performed an experimental task in which they were prompted voluntarily to increase or decrease cardiovascular arousal (heart rate) during true, false, or absent visual feedback. Participants achieved appropriate changes in heart rate, without significant modulation of respiratory rate, and were overall not influenced by the presence of visual feedback. Increased activity in right amygdala, striatum and brainstem occurred when participants attempted to increase heart rate. In contrast, activation of ventrolateral prefrontal and parietal cortices occurred when attempting to decrease heart rate. Biofeedback enhanced activity within occipito-temporal cortices, but there was no significant interaction with task conditions. Activity in regions including pregenual anterior cingulate and ventral striatum reflected the magnitude of successful task performance, which was negatively related to subclinical anxiety symptoms. Measured changes in respiration correlated with posterior insula activation and heart rate, at a more lenient threshold, change correlated with insula, caudate, and midbrain activity. Our findings highlight a set of brain regions, notably ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, supporting volitional control of cardiovascular arousal. These data are relevant to understanding neural substrates supporting interaction between intentional and interoceptive states related to anxiety, with implications for biofeedback interventions, e.g., real-time fMRI, that target emotional regulation.
Keyword Autonomic
Brain imaging
Heart rate
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
Centre for Advanced Imaging Publications
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