Hunger selectively modulates corticolimbic activation to food stimuli in humans.
LaBar KS., Gitelman DR., Parrish TB., Kim YH., Nobre AC., Mesulam MM.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to determine whether visual responses to food in the human amygdala and related corticolimbic structures would be selectively altered by changes in states of hunger. Participants viewed images of motivationally relevant (food) and motivationally irrelevant (tool) objects while undergoing fMRI in alternately hungry and satiated conditions. Food-related visual stimuli elicited greater responses in the amygdala, parahippocampal gyrus. and anterior fusiform gyrus when participants were in a hungry state relative to a satiated state. The state-dependent activation of these brain structures did not generalize to the motivationally irrelevant objects. These results support the hypothesis that the amygdala and associated inferotemporal regions are involved in the integration of subjective interoceptive states with relevant sensory cues processed along the ventral visual stream.