Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroimage. 2016 Jul 1;134:305-313. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.03.041. Epub 2016 Mar 24.

Mindful attention to breath regulates emotions via increased amygdala-prefrontal cortex connectivity.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroradiology, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; Department of Psychiatry, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; TUM-NIC Neuroimaging Center, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.
2
Department of Neuroradiology, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; TUM-NIC Neuroimaging Center, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany.
3
Department of Neuroradiology, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; TUM-NIC Neuroimaging Center, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.
4
Department of Neurology, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; TUM-NIC Neuroimaging Center, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany.
5
Department of Neuroradiology, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; Department of Neurology, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; TUM-NIC Neuroimaging Center, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.
6
Department of Neuroradiology, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; Department of Psychiatry, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; Department of Nuclear Medicine, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany; TUM-NIC Neuroimaging Center, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München TUM, Germany. Electronic address: c.sorg@lrz.tu-muenchen.de.

Abstract

Mindfulness practice is beneficial for emotion regulation; however, the neural mechanisms underlying this effect are poorly understood. The current study focuses on effects of attention-to-breath (ATB) as a basic mindfulness practice on aversive emotions at behavioral and brain levels. A key finding across different emotion regulation strategies is the modulation of amygdala and prefrontal activity. It is unclear how ATB relevant brain areas in the prefrontal cortex integrate with amygdala activation during emotional stimulation. We proposed that, during emotional stimulation, ATB down-regulates activation in the amygdala and increases its integration with prefrontal regions. To address this hypothesis, 26 healthy controls were trained in mindfulness-based attention-to-breath meditation for two weeks and then stimulated with aversive pictures during both attention-to-breath and passive viewing while undergoing fMRI. Data were controlled for breathing frequency. Results indicate that (1) ATB was effective in regulating aversive emotions. (2) Left dorso-medial prefrontal cortex was associated with ATB in general. (3) A fronto-parietal network was additionally recruited during emotional stimulation. (4) ATB down regulated amygdala activation and increased amygdala-prefrontal integration, with such increased integration being associated with mindfulness ability. Results suggest amygdala-dorsal prefrontal cortex integration as a potential neural pathway of emotion regulation by mindfulness practice.

KEYWORDS:

Amygdala; Attention-to-breath; Emotion regulation; Mindfulness; fMRI

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center