Cortical activation and lamina terminalis functional connectivity during thirst and drinking in humans

M Farrell, T Bowala, M Gavrilescu, Paddy Phillips, Michael McKinley, R McAllen, D Denton, Gary Egan

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    40 Citations (Scopus)


    The pattern of regional brain activation in humans during thirst associated with dehydration, increased blood osmolality, and decreased blood volume is not known. Furthermore, there is little information available about associations between activation in osmoreceptive brain regions such as the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis and the brain regions implicated in thirst and its satiation in humans. With the objective of investigating the neuroanatomical correlates of dehydration and activation in the ventral lamina terminalis, this study involved exercise-induced sweating in 15 people and measures of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) using a functional magnetic resonance imaging technique called pulsed arterial spin labeling. Regional brain activations during dehydration, thirst, and postdrinking were consistent with the network previously identified during systemic hypertonic infusions, thus providing further evidence that the network is involved in monitoring body fluid and the experience of thirst. rCBF measurements in the ventral lamina terminalis were correlated with whole brain rCBF measures to identify regions that correlated with the osmoreceptive region. Regions implicated in the experience of thirst were identified including cingulate cortex, prefrontal cortex, striatum, parahippocampus, and cerebellum. Furthermore, the correlation of rCBF between the ventral lamina terminalis and the cingulate cortex and insula was different for the states of thirst and recent drinking, suggesting that functional connectivity of the ventral lamina terminalis is a dynamic process influenced by hydration status and ingestive behavior.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)R623-R631
    Number of pages9
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology: Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


    • fMRI
    • Thirst


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