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Neuroimage. 2004 Apr;21(4):1232-41.

Brain activity relating to the contingent negative variation: an fMRI investigation.

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Institute of Neurology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, London WC1N 3BG, UK.


The contingent negative variation (CNV) is a long-latency electroencephalography (EEG) surface negative potential with cognitive and motor components, observed during response anticipation. CNV is an index of cortical arousal during orienting and attention, yet its functional neuroanatomical basis is poorly understood. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with simultaneous EEG and recording of galvanic skin response (GSR) to investigate CNV-related central neural activity and its relationship to peripheral autonomic arousal. In a group analysis, blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) activity during the period of CNV generation was enhanced in thalamus, somatomotor cortex, bilateral midcingulate, supplementary motor, and insular cortices. Enhancement of CNV-related activity in anterior and midcingulate, SMA, and insular cortices was associated with decreases in peripheral sympathetic arousal. In a subset of subjects in whom we acquired simultaneous EEG and fMRI data, we observed activity in bilateral thalamus, anterior cingulate, and supplementary motor cortex that was modulated by trial-by-trial amplitude of CNV. These findings provide a likely functional neuroanatomical substrate for the CNV and demonstrate modulation of components of this neural circuitry by peripheral autonomic arousal. Moreover, these data suggest a mechanistic model whereby thalamocortical interactions regulate CNV amplitude.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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