Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Hypothalamic interaction with reward-related regions during subjective evaluation of foods

Citation

Ogawa, Akitoshi et al. (2022), Hypothalamic interaction with reward-related regions during subjective evaluation of foods, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6q573n620

Abstract

The reward system implemented in the midbrain, ventral striatum, orbitofrontal cortex, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex evaluates and compares various types of rewards given to the organisms. It has been suggested that autonomic factors influence reward-related processing via the hypothalamus, but how the hypothalamus modulates the reward system remains elusive. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, the hypothalamus was parcellated into individual hypothalamic nuclei performing different autonomic functions using boundary mapping parcellation analyses. The effective interaction during subjective evaluation of foods in a reward task was then investigated between the human hypothalamic nuclei and the reward-related regions. We found significant brain activity decrease in the paraventricular nucleus (PVH) and lateral nucleus in the hypothalamus in food evaluation compared with monetary evaluation. A psychophysiological interaction analysis revealed dual interactions between the PVH and (1) midbrain region and (2) ventromedial prefrontal cortex, with the former correlated with the stronger tendency of participants toward food-seeking. A dynamic causal modeling analysis further revealed unidirectional interactions from the PVH to the midbrain and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. These results suggest that the PVH in the human hypothalamus interacts with the reward-related regions in the cerebral cortex via multiple pathways (i.e., the midbrain pathway and ventromedial prefrontal pathway) to evaluate rewards for subsequent decision-making.

Methods

Higher-resolution fMRI images were collected to investigate the effective interaction between the human hypothalamic nuclei and the regions in the reward system. We also collected the resting-state functional images to parcellate the medial hypothalamus into individual nuclei. The brain activity in individual hypothalamic nuclei was examined during the evaluation of food rewards compared to monetary rewards. The neural pathways toward the reward-related regions were then explored using effective connectivity analyses.

Funding

Takeda Science Foundation

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Award: 19K07807

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Award: 22K07334

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Award: 18K07348

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Award: 21K07255