The involvement of the human amygdala in emotion-related processing has been studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for many years. However, despite the amygdala being comprised of several subnuclei, most studies investigated the role of the entire amygdala in processing of emotions. Here we combined a novel anatomical tracing protocol with event-related high-resolution fMRI acquisition to study the responsiveness of the amygdala subnuclei to negative emotional stimuli and to examine intra-amygdala functional connectivity. The greatest sensitivity to the negative emotional stimuli was observed in the centromedial amygdala, where the hemodynamic response amplitude elicited by the negative emotional stimuli was greater and peaked later than for neutral stimuli. Connectivity patterns converge with extant findings in animals, such that the centromedial amygdala was more connected with the nuclei of the basal amygdala than with the lateral amygdala. Current findings provide evidence of functional specialization within the human amygdala.
Keywords: Amygdala connectivity; Amygdala subnuclei; Emotions; High-resolution fMRI.
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