Towards a cognitive neuroscience of self-awareness.

Author: Lou HC1, Changeux JP2, Rosenstand A3
1Center for Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. Electronic address:
2Institut Pasteur, 75724 Paris, France. Electronic address:
3Department of Ophthalmology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, Denmark. Electronic address:
Conference/Journal: Neurosci Biobehav Rev.
Date published: 2016 Apr 11
Other: Pages: S0149-7634(16)30041-0 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.04.004. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 161

Self-awareness is a pivotal component of conscious experience. It is correlated with a paralimbic network of medial prefrontal/anterior cingulate and medial parietal/posterior cingulate cortical "hubs" and associated regions. Electromagnetic and transmitter manipulation have demonstrated that the network is not an epiphenomenon but instrumental in generation of self-awareness. Thus, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) targeting the hubs impedes different aspects of self-awareness with a latency of 160ms.The network is linked by ∼40Hz oscillations and regulated by dopamine. The oscillations are generated by rhythmic GABA-ergic inhibitory activity in interneurons with an extraordinarily high metabolic rate. The hubs are richly endowed with interneurons and therefore highly vulnerable to disturbed energy supply. Consequently, deficient paralimbic activity and self-awareness are characteristic features of many disorders with impaired oxygen homeostasis. Such disorders may therefore be treated unconventionally by targeting interneuron function.

Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

KEYWORDS: GABA; Metacognition; default mode network; dopamine; interneurons; oxygen homeostasis; paralimbic network

PMID: 27079562 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]