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Auton Neurosci. 2017 Jan;202:108-113. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2016.10.003. Epub 2016 Oct 17.

Motion sickness increases functional connectivity between visual motion and nausea-associated brain regions.

Author information

1
Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
2
Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.
3
Korea Institute for Oriental Medicine (KIOM), Daejeon, Korea.
4
Department of Radiology, Logan University, Chesterfield, MO.
5
Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.
6
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Polytechnic Milan, Milan, Italy.
7
GI Unit, Center for Neurointestinal Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

The brain networks supporting nausea not yet understood. We previously found that while visual stimulation activated primary (V1) and extrastriate visual cortices (MT+/V5, coding for visual motion), increasing nausea was associated with increasing sustained activation in several brain areas, with significant co-activation for anterior insula (aIns) and mid-cingulate (MCC) cortices. Here, we hypothesized that motion sickness also alters functional connectivity between visual motion and previously identified nausea-processing brain regions. Subjects prone to motion sickness and controls completed a motion sickness provocation task during fMRI/ECG acquisition. We studied changes in connectivity between visual processing areas activated by the stimulus (MT+/V5, V1), right aIns and MCC when comparing rest (BASELINE) to peak nausea state (NAUSEA). Compared to BASELINE, NAUSEA reduced connectivity between right and left V1 and increased connectivity between right MT+/V5 and aIns and between left MT+/V5 and MCC. Additionally, the change in MT+/V5 to insula connectivity was significantly associated with a change in sympathovagal balance, assessed by heart rate variability analysis. No state-related connectivity changes were noted for the control group. Increased connectivity between a visual motion processing region and nausea/salience brain regions may reflect increased transfer of visual/vestibular mismatch information to brain regions supporting nausea perception and autonomic processing. We conclude that vection-induced nausea increases connectivity between nausea-processing regions and those activated by the nauseogenic stimulus. This enhanced low-frequency coupling may support continual, slowly evolving nausea perception and shifts toward sympathetic dominance. Disengaging this coupling may be a target for biobehavioral interventions aimed at reducing motion sickness severity.

KEYWORDS:

Brain connectivity; Brain-gut interactions; Heart rate variability; MT+/V5; Sympathovagal balance

PMID:
28245927
PMCID:
PMC5332554
DOI:
10.1016/j.autneu.2016.10.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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