The influence of interoceptive awareness on functional connectivity in patients with irritable bowel syndrome

M. Longarzo, M. Quarantelli, M. Aiello, M. Romano, A. Del Prete, C. Cimminiello, S. Cocozza, Gaia Olivo, C. Loguercio, L. Trojano, D. Grossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by visceral hypersensitivity likely related to altered processing of sensory stimuli along the brain-gut axis. Previous neuroimaging studies demonstrated structural and functional alteration of several brain areas involved in bodily representation, e.g. the insula, in patients with IBS. By means of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) we searched for alteration of functional connectivity within the network involved in self-bodily consciousness. We found significant inverse correlation between hypochondriasis assessed through a clinical questionnaire and connectivity between posterior cingulate cortex and left supramarginal gyrus, extending into the adjacent superior temporal gyrus. Moreover, we observed a significant and positive correlation between a clinical questionnaire assessing interoception and connectivity between left anterior ventral insula and two clusters located in supramarginal gyrus bilaterally. Our findings highlight an “abnormal network synchrony” reflecting functional alteration, in the absence of structural and micro-structural changes, which might represent a possible therapeutic target for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Default-mode network
  • Functional connectivity
  • Insula
  • Interoception
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Rs-fMRI


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