A pontine region is a neural correlate of the human affective processing network

Tatia M.C. LEE, Delin SUN, Man Lok Nichol WONG, Robin SHAO, Weiwei MEN, Jianqiao GE, Kwok-Fai SO, Jia-Hong GAO, Che Hin Chetwyn CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The in vivo neural activity of the pons during the perception of affective stimuli has not been studied despite the strong implications of its role in affective processing. To examine the activity of the pons during the viewing of affective stimuli, and to verify its functional and structural connectivity with other affective neural correlates, a multimodal magnetic resonance imaging methodology was employed in this study. We observed the in vivo activity of the pons when viewing affective stimuli. Furthermore, small-world connectivity indicated that the functional connectivity (FC) between the pons and the cortico-limbic affective regions was meaningful, with the coefficient λ being positively associated with self-reported emotional reactivity. The FC between the pons and the cortico-limbic-striatal areas was related to self-reported negative affect. Corroborating this finding was the observation that the tract passing through the pons and the left hippocampus was negatively related to self-reported positive affect and positively correlated with emotional reactivity. Our findings support the framework that the pons works conjunctively with the distributed cortico-limbic-striatal systems in shaping individuals' affective states and reactivity. Our work paves the path for future research on the contribution of the pons to the precipitation and maintenance of affective disorders. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1799-1805
Issue number11
Early online dateOct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


Lee, T. M. C., Sun, D., Wong, N. M. L., Shao, R., Men, W., Ge, J., . . . Chan, C. C. H. (2015). A pontine region is a neural correlate of the human affective processing network. EBioMedicine, 2(11), 1799-1805. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.10.020


  • Pons
  • Raphe nuclei
  • Emotion
  • fMRI
  • Small-world connectivity


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