The pathways of interoceptive awareness

Author: Sahib S Khalsa1, David Rudrauf, Justin S Feinstein, Daniel Tranel
1 Department of Neurology and Neuroscience Program, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
Conference/Journal: Nat Neurosci
Date published: 2009 Dec 1
Other: Volume ID: 12 , Issue ID: 12 , Pages: 1494-6 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1038/nn.2411. , Word Count: 89

A network of cortical brain regions, including the insula and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), has been proposed as the critical and sole substrate for interoceptive awareness. Combining lesion and pharmacological approaches in humans, we found that the insula and ACC were not critical for awareness of heartbeat sensations. Instead, this awareness was mediated by both somatosensory afferents from the skin and a network that included the insula and ACC. Together, these pathways enable the core human experience of the cardiovascular state of the body.

PMID: 19881506 PMCID: PMC2787640 DOI: 10.1038/nn.2411