We hypothesized that in healthy subjects differences in resting heart rate variability (rHRV) would be associated with differences in emotional reactivity within the medial visceromotor network (MVN). We also probed whether this MVN-rHRV relationship was diminished in depression. Eleven healthy adults and nine depressed subjects performed the emotional counting stroop task in alternating blocks of emotion and neutral words during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The correlation between rHRV outside the scanner and BOLD signal reactivity (absolute value of change between adjacent blocks in the BOLD signal) was examined in specific MVN regions. Significant negative correlations were observed between rHRV and average BOLD shift magnitude (BSM) in several MVN regions in healthy subjects but not depressed subjects. This preliminary report provides novel evidence relating emotional reactivity in MVN regions to rHRV. It also provides preliminary suggestive evidence that depression may involve reduced interaction between the MVN and cardiac vagal control.
- Heart rate variability
- Subgenual anterior cingulate cortex
- Vagal tone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology