Ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the regulation of physiological arousal

Ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the regulation of physiological arousal

Author Zhang, Sheng Google Scholar
Hu, Sien Google Scholar
Chao, Herta H. Google Scholar
Ide, Jaime S. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Luo, Xi Google Scholar
Farr, Olivia M. Google Scholar
Li, Chiang-shan R. Google Scholar
Institution Yale Univ
VA Connecticut Healthcare Syst
Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
Brown Univ
Abstract Neuroimaging studies show a correlation between activity of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and skin conductance measurements. However, little is known whether this brain region plays a causal role in regulating physiological arousal. To address this question, we employed Granger causality analysis (GCA) to establish causality between cerebral blood oxygenation level-dependent and skin conductance signals in 24 healthy adults performing a cognitive task during functional magnetic resonance imaging. the results showed that activity of the vmPFC not only negatively correlated with skin conductance level (SCL) but also Granger caused SCL, thus establishing the direction of influence. Importantly, across participants, the strength of Granger causality was negatively correlated to phasic skin conductance responses elicited by external events during the behavioral task. in contrast, activity of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex positively correlated with SCL but did not show a causal relationship in GCA. These new findings indicate that the vmPFC plays a causal role in regulating physiological arousal. Increased vmPFC activity leads to a decrease in skin conductance. the findings may also advance our understanding of dysfunctions of the vmPFC in mood and anxiety disorders that involve altered control of physiological arousal.
Keywords ventromedial prefrontal cortex
skin conductance
Granger causality
Language English
Sponsor National Institute of Health
Tourette Syndrome Association
William O. Seery Foundation
Yale Cancer Center
Grant number National Institute of Health: R01DA023248
National Institute of Health: R21AA018004
National Institute of Health: K02DA026990
National Institute of Health: R03CA138121
Date 2014-07-01
Published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. Oxford: Oxford Univ Press, v. 9, n. 7, p. 900-908, 2014.
ISSN 1749-5016 (Sherpa/Romeo, impact factor)
Publisher Oxford Univ Press
Extent 900-908
Access rights Open access Open Access
Type Article
Web of Science ID WOS:000339953300002

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