Neural Circuits of Interoception

Author: Gary G Berntson1, Sahib S Khalsa2
1 Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA. Electronic address:
2 Laureate Institute for Brain Research, Tulsa, OK, USA; Oxley College of Health Sciences, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK, USA.
Conference/Journal: Trends Neurosci
Date published: 2021 Jan 1
Other: Volume ID: 44 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 17-28 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2020.09.011. , Word Count: 128

The present paper considers recent progress in our understanding of the afferent/ascending neural pathways and neural circuits of interoception. Of particular note is the extensive role of rostral neural systems, including cortical systems, in the recognition of internal body states, and the reciprocal role of efferent/descending systems in the regulation of those states. Together these reciprocal interacting networks entail interoceptive circuits that play an important role in a broad range of functions beyond the homeostatic maintenance of physiological steady-states. These include the regulation of behavioral, cognitive, and affective processes across conscious and nonconscious levels of processing. We highlight recent advances and knowledge gaps that are important for accelerating progress in the study of interoception.

Keywords: autonomic; efferent; homeostasis; interoceptive awareness; visceral afferent.

PMID: 33378653 DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2020.09.011