Cognitive Neuroscience


The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience




Formal publication: May 2021

Authors: Salamone PC, Legaz A, Sedeño L, Moguilner S, Fraile-Vazquez M, Campo CG, Fittipaldi S, Yoris A, Miranda M, Birba A, Galiani A, Abrevaya S, Neely A, Caro MM, Alifano F, Villagra R, Anunziata F, Okada de Oliveira M, Pautassi RM, Slachevsky A, Serrano C, García AM, Ibañez A.

Recent frameworks in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral neurology underscore interoceptive priors as core modulators of negative emotions. However, the field lacks experimental designs manipulating the priming of emotions via interoception and exploring their multimodal signatures in neurodegenerative models. Here, we designed a novel task that involves interoceptive and control-exteroceptive priming conditions followed by post-interoception and post-exteroception facial emotion recognition (FER). We recruited 114 participants, including healthy controls (HCs) as well as patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We measured online EEG modulations of the heart-evoked potential (HEP), and associations with both brain structural and resting-state functional connectivity patterns. Behaviorally, post-interoception negative FER was enhanced in HCs but selectively disrupted in bvFTD and PD, with AD presenting generalized disruptions across emotion types. Only bvFTD presented impaired interoceptive accuracy. Increased HEP modulations during post-interoception negative FER was observed in HCs and AD, but not in bvFTD or PD patients. Across all groups, post-interoception negative FER correlated with the volume of the insula and the ACC. Also, negative FER was associated with functional connectivity along the (a) salience network in the post-interoception condition, and along the (b) executive network in the post-exteroception condition. These patterns were selectively disrupted in bvFTD (a) and PD (b), respectively. Our approach underscores the multidimensional impact of interoception on emotion, while revealing a specific pathophysiological marker of bvFTD. These findings inform a promising theoretical and clinical agenda in the fields of nteroception, emotion, allostasis, and neurodegeneration.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT We examined whether and how emotions are primed by interoceptive states combining multimodal measures in healthy controls and neurodegenerative models. In controls, negative emotion recognition and ongoing HEP modulations were increased after interoception. These patterns were selectively disrupted in patients with atrophy across key interoceptive-emotional regions (e.g., the insula and the cingulate in frontotemporal dementia, frontostriatal networks in Parkinson’s disease), whereas persons with Alzheimer’s disease presented generalized emotional processing abnormalities with preserved interoceptive mechanisms. The integration of both domains was associated with the volume and connectivity (salience network) of canonical interoceptive-emotional hubs, critically involving the insula and the anterior cingulate. Our study reveals multimodal markers of interoceptive-emotional priming, laying the groundwork for new agendas in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral neurology.