Anatomical and functional overlap within the insula and anterior cingulate cortex during interoception and phobic symptom provocation

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Publication Details

Author list: Soriano-Mas C
Publisher: Wiley: 12 months
Publication year: 2013
Journal: Human Brain Mapping (1065-9471)
Volume number: 34
Issue number: 5
Start page: 1220
End page: 1229
Number of pages: 10
ISSN: 1065-9471
eISSN: 1097-0193
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


The anterior insula and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) are
regarded as key brain structures associated with the integration of
perceived phobic characteristics of external stimuli and the perception
of ones own body responses that leads to emotional feelings. To test to
what extent the activity in these two brain structures anatomically and
functionally overlap during phobic reactions and interoception, we
submitted the same group of phobic participants (n = 29; either spider
or blood-injection-injury (BII) phobics) and controls (n = 17) to both
type of experimental paradigms. Results showed that there was a clear
anatomical overlap in the Blood Oxygen Level-Dependent (BOLD) responses
within the anterior insula and ACC elicited during phobic symptom
provocation and during interoceptive awareness. The activity within
these two brain structures also showed to be correlated in the spider
phobia group, but not in the BII phobic participants. Our results seem
to support the idea that the activity within these two brain areas would
be associated with the integration of perceived stimuli characteristics
and bodily responses that lead to what we label as "fear." However,
that seems not to be the case in BII phobia, where more research is
needed in order to clarify to what extent that could be associated with
the idiosyncratic physiological response that these patients present in
front of phobic stimuli (i.e., drop in heart rate and blood pressure).


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Last updated on 2019-13-08 at 00:45