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Encoding of Touch Intensity But Not Pleasantness in Human Primary Somatosensory Cortex
NIH, MD 20892 USA.
NIH, MD 20892 USA.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Neuro and Inflammation Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
NIH, MD 20892 USA.
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2016 (English)In: Journal of Neuroscience, ISSN 0270-6474, E-ISSN 1529-2401, Vol. 36, no 21, 5850-5860 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Growing interest in affective touch has delineated a neural network that bypasses primary somatosensory cortex (S1). Several recent studies, however, have cast doubt on the segregation of touch discrimination and affect, suggesting that S1 also encodes affective qualities. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to examine the role of S1 in processing touch intensity and pleasantness. Twenty-six healthy human adults rated brushing on the hand during fMRI. Intensity ratings significantly predicted activation in S1, whereas pleasantness ratings predicted activation only in the anterior cingulate cortex. Nineteen subjects also received inhibitory rTMS over right hemisphere S1 and the vertex (control). After S1 rTMS, but not after vertex rTMS, sensory discrimination was reduced and subjects with reduced sensory discrimination rated touch as more intense. In contrast, rTMS did not alter ratings of touch pleasantness. Our findings support divergent neural processing of touch intensity and pleasantness, with affective touch encoded outside of S1.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SOC NEUROSCIENCE , 2016. Vol. 36, no 21, 5850-5860 p.
Keyword [en]
affect; c-tactile fibers; pleasantness; rTMS; somatosensory cortex; touch discrimination
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-130300DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1130-15.2016ISI: 000378345000017PubMedID: 27225773OAI: diva2:950499

Funding Agencies|National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health-National Institutes of Health

Available from: 2016-07-31 Created: 2016-07-28 Last updated: 2016-07-31

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Olausson, Håkan
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Division of Neuro and Inflammation ScienceFaculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
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