A neural circuit framework for somatosensory amplification in somatoform disorders

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2015 Winter;27(1):e40-50. doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.13070170. Epub 2014 Nov 10.


Although somatosensory amplification is theorized to serve a critical role in somatization, it remains poorly understood neurobiologically. In this perspective article, convergent visceral-somatic processing is highlighted, and neuroimaging studies in somatoform disorders are reviewed. Neural correlates of cognitive-affective amplifiers are integrated into a neurocircuit framework for somatosensory amplification. The anterior cingulate cortex, insula, amygdala, hippocampal formation, and striatum are some of the identified regions. Clinical symptomatology in a given patient or group may represent dysfunction in one or more of these neurobehavioral nodes. Somatosensory amplification may, in part, develop through stress-mediated aberrant neuroplastic changes and the neuromodulatory effects of inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / pathology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / pathology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / pathology*