Cortical-wide functional correlations are associated with stress-induced cardiac dysfunctions in individual rats

Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 22;9(1):10581. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47171-y.


Mental stress-induced biological responses considerably differ across animals, which may be explained by intrinsic brain activity patterns. To address this hypothesis, we recorded local field potential signals from six cortical areas, electrocardiograms, and electromyograms from freely moving rats. Based on their stress-induced changes in cardiac signals, individual defeated rats were classified into stress susceptible and resilient groups. Rats with lower correlations in theta power across wide ranges of cortical regions before the stress challenge had higher probability to be stress-susceptible rats as defined based on the irregularity of heartbeat signals. A combination of principal component analysis and the support vector machine algorithm revealed that functional connections across cortical regions could be predictive factors accounting for individual differences in future stress susceptibility. These results suggest that individual differences in cortical activity may be a mechanism that causes abnormal activity of peripheral organs in response to mental stress episodes. This evidence will advance the understanding of the neurophysiological correlates of mind-body associations during mental stress exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromyography
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*