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Intrinsic functional connectivity of insular cortex and symptoms of sickness during acute experimental inflammation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
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2016 (English)In: Brain, behavior, and immunity, ISSN 0889-1591, E-ISSN 1090-2139, Vol. 56, 34-41 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Task-based fMRI has been used to study the effects of experimental inflammation on the human brain, but it remains unknown whether intrinsic connectivity in the brain at rest changes during a sickness response. Here, we investigated the effect of experimental inflammation on connectivity between areas relevant for monitoring of bodily states, motivation, and subjective symptoms of sickness. In a double blind randomized controlled trial, 52 healthy volunteers were injected with 0.6 ng/kg LPS (lipopolysaccharide) or placebo, and participated in a resting state fMRI experiment after approximately 2h 45 minutes. Resting state fMRI data were available from 48 participants, of which 28 received LPS and 20 received placebo. Bilateral anterior and bilateral posterior insula sections were used as seed regions and connectivity with bilateral orbitofrontal and cingulate (anterior and middle) cortices was investigated. Back pain, headache and global sickness increased significantly after as compared to before LPS, while a non-significant trend was shown for increased nausea. Compared to placebo, LPS was followed by increased connectivity between left anterior insula and left midcingulate cortex. This connectivity was significantly correlated to increase in back pain after LPS and tended to be related to increased global sickness, but was not related to increased headache or nausea. LPS did not affect the connectivity from other insular seeds. In conclusion, the finding of increased functional connectivity between left anterior insula and middle cingulate cortex suggests a potential neurophysiological mechanism that can be further tested to understand the subjective feeling of malaise and discomfort during a sickness response.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 56, 34-41 p.
Keyword [en]
Endotoxin, Lipopolysaccharide, Resting state, Intrinsic connectivity, fMRI, Spontaneous pain, Sickness behavior, Inflammation, Interoception, Insular cortex
National Category
Neurosciences Immunology in the medical area
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-125075DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2015.12.018ISI: 000378985600005PubMedID: 26732827Local ID: P-3316OAI: diva2:891633
Available from: 2016-01-07 Created: 2016-01-07 Last updated: 2016-08-08Bibliographically approved

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Lekander, MatsKarshikoff, BiankaAndreasson, AnnaAxelsson, JohnNilsonne, Gustav
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