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Damage to the right insula disrupts the perception of affective touch

  1. Louise P Kirsch  Is a corresponding author
  2. Sahba Besharati
  3. Christina Papadaki
  4. Laura Crucianelli
  5. Sara Bertagnoli
  6. Nick Ward
  7. Valentina Moro
  8. Paul M Jenkinson
  9. Aikaterini Fotopoulou
  1. Sorbonne Universite, France
  2. University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  3. University College London, United Kingdom
  4. University of Verona, Italy
  5. University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e47895 doi: 10.7554/eLife.47895

Abstract

Specific, peripheral C-tactile afferents contribute to the perception of tactile pleasure, but the brain areas involved in their processing remain debated. We report the first human lesion study on the perception of C-tactile touch in right hemisphere stroke patients (N = 59), revealing that right posterior and anterior insula lesions reduce tactile, contralateral and ipsilateral pleasantness sensitivity, respectively. These findings corroborate previous imaging studies regarding the role of the posterior insula in the perception of affective touch. However, our findings about the crucial role of the anterior insula for ipsilateral affective touch perception open new avenues of enquiry regarding the cortical organization of this tactile system.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Louise P Kirsch

    Institut des Systèmes Intelligents et de Robotique, Sorbonne Universite, Paris, France
    For correspondence
    kirsch.lou@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-8418-776X
  2. Sahba Besharati

    The Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Christina Papadaki

    Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Laura Crucianelli

    Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Sara Bertagnoli

    Department of Human Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Nick Ward

    Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Valentina Moro

    Department of Human Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Paul M Jenkinson

    Department of Psychology, School of Life and Medical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  9. Aikaterini Fotopoulou

    Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

European Research Council (ERC-2012-STG GA313755)

  • Aikaterini Fotopoulou

MIUR Italy (PRIN 20159CZFJK)

  • Valentina Moro

University of Verona (Bando di Ateneo per la Ricerca di Base 2015 project MOTOS)

  • Valentina Moro

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Human subjects: All participants gave written, informed consent to take part in the study and to publish. The local National Health System Ethics Committees approved the study (REC:05/Q0706/218), which was carried out in accordance to the Declaration of Helsinki.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Stephen Liberles, Harvard Medical School, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: April 23, 2019
  2. Accepted: January 23, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: January 24, 2020 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2020, Kirsch 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.

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