Brain activation associated with ratings of the hedonic component of thermal sensation during whole-body warming and cooling

Michael J. Farrell, John Johnson, Robin McAllen, Frank Zamarripa, Derek A. Denton, Peter T. Fox, Gary F. Egan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Thermal sensation has both discriminative and hedonic components. The neural network associated with thermal discrimination has been described, but the representation of the hedonic component of thermal sensation in the brain has yet to be demonstrated. This study measured regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) with Positron Emission Tomography in human participants during whole-body cooling and warming. Ratings of the hedonic dimension of thermal sensation were correlated with rCBF and compared to brain activation maps of skin and core temperature changes. The hedonic dimension of thermal sensation was represented in a widely distributed network that included somatosensory, limbic, paralimbic, and associative cortices. Changes in rCBF associated with ratings of the hedonic dimension of thermal sensation were contrasted with changes in rCBF associated with skin and core temperature to identify brain regions that were uniquely activated by the hedonic dimension of thermal sensation. The contrast between the correlates of the hedonic dimension of thermal sensation and the correlates of skin and core temperatures identified a region in the posterior part of the mid cingulate cortex (pMCC). The independent relationship between rCBF changes in the pMCC with ratings of the hedonic dimension of thermal sensation may indicate an important role for the pMCC in the integration of temperature-related signals from receptors in the skin and core.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Limbic system
  • Positron Emission Tomography
  • Temperature sense

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Developmental Biology

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