Ventromedial prefrontal cortex regulation of prepulse inhibition and emotional modulation of the startle reflex: effect of lesion onset
University of Murcia, Spain
University of Iowa, USA
Saint Louis University, USA
University of Southern California, USA
The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC) is involved in inhibitory and emotional processing. Behavioral studies have shown that deficits in these processes are more severe if lesions occur in childhood, rather than adulthood. Our goal was to study both inhibitory and emotional processes in patients with either childhood-onset or adult-onset VMPC damage. To address these processes, we examined the modulation of the startle reflex by early attentional processes and emotion. The sample was composed of 6 adult-onset VMPC, 4 childhood-onset VMPC patients, and 10 healthy participants. Subjects viewed 54 pictures from the IAPS. The startle reflex was evoked by a 105 dB white noise burst in 18 pictures at 300 ms after picture onset (prepulse inhibition) and at 3,800 ms after picture onset in 18 pictures (emotion-modulated startle). Childhood-onset VMPC patients did not show prepulse inhibition, attentional inhibition, or emotion-modulated startle. On the other hand, adult-onset VMPC patients showed preserved prepulse inhibition, impaired attentional inhibition, and preserved emotion-modulated startle. Overall, childhood-onset VMPFC patients lose the ability to protect the processing of a previous stimulus when a second stimulus appears (prepulse inhibition). By contrast, adult-onset VMPC patients preserve this ability, but show a deficit to more deeply process the salience of emotional pictures, in comparison to neutral pictures (attentional inhibition). At later stages of processing, childhood-onset VMPC patients did not show an emotional modulation of startle, while adult-onset VMPC patients did show this effect similar to controls. Hence, early onset damage to the VMPC results in more severe deficits to early and late processing of emotion compared to adult-onset cases.
XI International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON XI), Palma, Mallorca, Spain, 25 Sep - 29 Sep, 2011.
Poster Sessions: Emotion, Motivation and the Social Brain
(2011). Ventromedial prefrontal cortex regulation of prepulse inhibition and emotional modulation of the startle reflex: effect of lesion onset.
Front. Hum. Neurosci.
XI International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON XI).
18 Nov 2011;
28 Nov 2011.
Dr. Juan P. Sanchez-Navarro, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain, email@example.com