The in vivo neural activity of the pons during the perception of affective stimuli has not been studied despite the strong implications of its role in affective processing. To examine the activity of the pons during the viewing of affective stimuli, and to verify its functional and structural connectivity with other affective neural correlates, a multimodal magnetic resonance imaging methodology was employed in this study. We observed the in vivo activity of the pons when viewing affective stimuli. Furthermore, small-world connectivity indicated that the functional connectivity (FC) between the pons and the cortico-limbic affective regions was meaningful, with the coefficient λ being positively associated with self-reported emotional reactivity. The FC between the pons and the cortico-limbic-striatal areas was related to self-reported negative affect. Corroborating this finding was the observation that the tract passing through the pons and the left hippocampus was negatively related to self-reported positive affect and positively correlated with emotional reactivity. Our findings support the framework that the pons works conjunctively with the distributed cortico-limbic-striatal systems in shaping individuals' affective states and reactivity. Our work paves the path for future research on the contribution of the pons to the precipitation and maintenance of affective disorders.
- Raphe Nuclei
- Small-World Connectivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)