Brain activation responses to subliminal or supraliminal rectal stimuli and to auditory stimuli in irritable bowel syndrome.Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2005 Dec; 17(6):827-37.NM
Visceral hypersensitivity in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been associated with altered cerebral activations in response to visceral stimuli. It is unclear whether these processing alterations are specific for visceral sensation. In this study we aimed to determine by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) whether cerebral processing of supraliminal and subliminal rectal stimuli and of auditory stimuli is altered in IBS. In eight IBS patients and eight healthy controls, fMRI activations were recorded during auditory and rectal stimulation. Intensities of rectal balloon distension were adapted to the individual threshold of first perception (IPT): subliminal (IPT -10 mmHg), liminal (IPT), or supraliminal (IPT +10 mmHg). IBS patients relative to controls responded with lower activations of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) to both subliminal and supraliminal stimulation and with higher activation of the hippocampus (HC) to supraliminal stimulation. In IBS patients, not in controls, ACC and HC were also activated by auditory stimulation. In IBS patients, decreased ACC and PFC activation with subliminal and supraliminal rectal stimuli and increased HC activation with supraliminal stimuli suggest disturbances of the associative and emotional processing of visceral sensation. Hyperreactivity to auditory stimuli suggests that altered sensory processing in IBS may not be restricted to visceral sensation.