Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Mu-opioid receptor system modulates responses to vocal bonding and distress signals in humans




List of Authors: Sun Lihua, Lukkarinen Lasse, Putkinen Vesa, Karlsson Henry K, Hirvonen Jussi, Tiihonen Jari, Lauerma Hannu, Scott Sophie, Nummenmaa Lauri

Publisher: ROYAL SOC

Publication year: 2022

Journal: Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences

Journal name in source: PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Journal acronym: PHILOS T R SOC B

Volume number: 377

Issue number: 1863

Number of pages: 8

ISSN: 0962-8436

eISSN: 1471-2970

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2021.0181

URL: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2021.0181


Abstract
Laughter is a contagious prosocial signal that conveys bonding motivation; adult crying conversely communicates desire for social proximity by signalling distress. Endogenous mu-opioid receptors (MORs) modulate sociability in humans and non-human primates. In this combined PET-fMRI study (n = 17), we tested whether central MOR tone is associated with regional brain responses to social signals of laughter and crying. MOR availability was measured with positron emission tomography (PET) using the high-affinity agonist radioligand [C-11]carfentanil. Haemodynamic responses to social laughter and crying vocalizations were measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Social laughter evoked activation in the auditory cortex, insula, cingulate cortex, amygdala, primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, and primary and secondary motor cortex; crying sounds led to more restricted activation in the auditory cortex and nearby areas. MOR availability was negatively correlated with the haemodynamic responses to social laughter in the primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, primary and secondary motor cortex, posterior insula, posterior cingulate cortex, precuneus, cuneus, temporal gyri and lingual gyrus. For crying-evoked activations, MOR availability was negatively correlated with medial and lateral prefrontal haemodynamic responses. Altogether our findings highlight the role of the MOR system in modulating acute brain responses to both positive and negative social signals.This article is part of the theme issue 'Cracking the laugh code: laughter through the lens of biology, psychology and neuroscience'.


Last updated on 2022-07-12 at 15:20