Mapping the sequence of brain events in response to disgusting food

Jesus Pujol, Laura Blanco-Hinojo, Ramón Coronas, Susanna Esteba-Castillo, Mercedes Rigla, Gerard Martínez-Vilavella, Joan Deus, Ramón Novell, Assumpta Caixàs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Warning signals indicating that a food is potentially dangerous may evoke a response that is not limited to the feeling of disgust. We investigated the sequence of brain events in response to visual representations of disgusting food using a dynamic image analysis. Functional MRI was acquired in 30 healthy subjects while they were watching a movie showing disgusting food scenes interspersed with the scenes of appetizing food. Imaging analysis included the identification of the global brain response and the generation of frame-by-frame activation maps at the temporal resolution of 2 s. Robust activations were identified in brain structures conventionally associated with the experience of disgust, but our analysis also captured a variety of other brain elements showing distinct temporal evolutions. The earliest events included transient changes in the orbitofrontal cortex and visual areas, followed by a more durable engagement of the periaqueductal gray, a pivotal element in the mediation of responses to threat. A subsequent core phase was characterized by the activation of subcortical and cortical structures directly concerned not only with the emotional dimension of disgust (e.g., amygdala-hippocampus, insula), but also with the regulation of food intake (e.g., hypothalamus). In a later phase, neural excitement extended to broad cortical areas, the thalamus and cerebellum, and finally to the default mode network that signaled the progressive termination of the evoked response. The response to disgusting food representations is not limited to the emotional domain of disgust, and may sequentially involve a variety of broadly distributed brain networks. Hum Brain Mapp 39:369–380, 2018. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-380
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume39
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • amygdala
  • dynamic analysis
  • emotion
  • functional MRI
  • withdrawal behavior

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