Neural Mechanisms Linking Emotion with Cardiovascular Disease
Purpose of Review
The present review discusses brain circuits that are engaged by negative emotions and possibly linked to cardiovascular disease risk. It describes recent human brain imaging studies that relate activity in these brain circuits to emotional processes, peripheral physiology, preclinical pathophysiology, as well as clinical outcomes.
Negative emotions and the regulation of negative emotions reliably engage several brain regions that cross-sectional and longitudinal brain imaging studies have associated with CVD risk markers and outcomes. These brain regions include the amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, and insula. Other studies have applied advanced statistical techniques to characterize multivariate patterns of brain activity and brain connectivity that associate with negative emotion and CVD-relevant peripheral physiology.
Brain imaging studies on emotion and cardiovascular disease risk are expanding our understanding of the brain-body bases of psychosocial and behavioral risk for cardiovascular disease.
KeywordsAmygdala Brain imaging Emotion Emotion regulation Medial prefrontal cortex Stress
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants T32 HL007560 and R01 HL089850.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Thomas E. Kraynak, Anna L. Marsland, and Peter J. Gianaros declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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