[en] The neural mechanisms underlying the antinociceptive effects of hypnosis still remain unclear. Using a parametric single-trial thulium-YAG laser fMRI paradigm, we assessed changes in brain activation and connectivity related to the hypnotic state as compared to normal wakefulness in 13 healthy volunteers. Behaviorally, a difference in subjective ratings was found between normal wakefulness and hypnotic state for both non-painful and painful intensity-matched stimuli applied to the left hand. In normal wakefulness, non-painful range stimuli activated brainstem, contralateral primary somatosensory (S1) and bilateral insular cortices. Painful stimuli activated additional areas encompassing thalamus, bilateral striatum, anterior cingulate (ACC), premotor and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices. In hypnosis, intensity-matched stimuli in both the non-painful and painful range failed to elicit any cerebral activation. The interaction analysis identified that contralateral thalamus, bilateral striatum and ACC activated more in normal wakefulness compared to hypnosis during painful versus non-painful stimulation. Finally, we demonstrated hypnosis-related increases in functional connectivity between S1 and distant anterior insular and prefrontal cortices, possibly reflecting top-down modulation.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - FNRS ; the European Commission ; the James McDonnell Foundation ; the Mind Science Foundation ; French Speaking Community Concerted Research Action ; Fondation Médicale Reine Elisabeth