The computational principles by which the brain creates a painful experience from nociception are still unknown. Classic theories suggest that cortical regions either reflect stimulus intensity or additive effects of intensity and expectations, respectively. By contrast, predictive coding theories provide a unified framework explaining how perception is shaped by the integration of beliefs about the world with mismatches resulting from the comparison of these believes against sensory input. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging during a probabilistic heat pain paradigm, we investigated which computations underlie pain perception. Skin conductance, pupil dilation, and anterior insula responses to cued pain stimuli strictly followed the response patterns hypothesized by the predictive coding model, whereas posterior insula encoded stimulus intensity. This novel functional dissociation of pain processing within the insula together with previously observed alterations in chronic pain offer a novel interpretation of aberrant pain processing as disturbed weighting of predictions and prediction errors.
- Christian Büchel
- Christian Büchel
- Stephan Geuter
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: The study was approved by and conducted in accordance with the ethics guidelines of the Medical Chamber Hamburg (PV4745). All participants provided informed consent to participate and to publish.
- Heidi Johansen-Berg, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
© 2017, Geuter et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, and relapse during abstinence remains the critical barrier to successful treatment of tobacco addiction. During abstinence, environmental contexts associated with nicotine use can induce craving and contribute to relapse. The insular cortex (IC) is thought to be a critical substrate of nicotine addiction and relapse. However, its specific role in context-induced relapse of nicotine-seeking is not fully known. In this study, we report a novel rodent model of context-induced relapse to nicotine-seeking after punishment-imposed abstinence, which models self-imposed abstinence through increasing negative consequences of excessive drug use. Using the neuronal activity marker Fos we find that the anterior (aIC), but not the middle or posterior IC, shows increased activity during context-induced relapse. Combining Fos with retrograde labeling of aIC inputs, we show projections to aIC from contralateral aIC and basolateral amygdala exhibit increased activity during context-induced relapse. Next, we used fiber photometry in aIC and observed phasic increases in aIC activity around nicotine-seeking responses during self-administration, punishment, and the context-induced relapse tests. Next, we used chemogenetic inhibition in both male and female rats to determine whether activity in aIC is necessary for context-induced relapse. We found that chemogenetic inhibition of aIC decreased context-induced nicotine-seeking after either punishment- or extinction-imposed abstinence. These findings highlight the critical role nicotine-associated contexts play in promoting relapse, and they show that aIC activity is critical for this context-induced relapse following both punishment and extinction-imposed abstinence.
Food intake behavior is regulated by a network of appetite-inducing and appetite-suppressing neuronal populations throughout the brain. The parasubthalamic nucleus (PSTN), a relatively unexplored population of neurons in the posterior hypothalamus, has been hypothesized to regulate appetite due to its connectivity with other anorexigenic neuronal populations and because these neurons express Fos, a marker of neuronal activation, following a meal. However, the individual cell types that make up the PSTN are not well characterized, nor are their functional roles in food intake behavior. Here, we identify and distinguish between two discrete PSTN subpopulations, those that express tachykinin-1 (PSTNTac1 neurons) and those that express corticotropin-releasing hormone (PSTNCRH neurons), and use a panel of genetically encoded tools in mice to show that PSTNTac1 neurons play an important role in appetite suppression. Both subpopulations increase activity following a meal and in response to administration of the anorexigenic hormones amylin, cholecystokinin (CCK), and peptide YY (PYY). Interestingly, chemogenetic inhibition of PSTNTac1, but not PSTNCRH neurons, reduces the appetite-suppressing effects of these hormones. Consistently, optogenetic and chemogenetic stimulation of PSTNTac1 neurons, but not PSTNCRH neurons, reduces food intake in hungry mice. PSTNTac1 and PSTNCRH neurons project to distinct downstream brain regions, and stimulation of PSTNTac1 projections to individual anorexigenic populations reduces food consumption. Taken together, these results reveal the functional properties and projection patterns of distinct PSTN cell types and demonstrate an anorexigenic role for PSTNTac1 neurons in the hormonal and central regulation of appetite.