Mood effects on limbic blood flow correlate with emotional self-rating: a PET study with oxygen-15 labeled water.
Positron emission tomography was used to study the effects of experimentally controlled mood states on cerebral blood flow (CBF), measured with the quantitative equilibrium infusion method and 15O-labeled water. Twenty-seven brain regions in each hemisphere were assessed in 16 normal subjects. CBF and heart rate were measured during happy and sad mood induction, and during two nonemotional control conditions: sex differentiation and resting baseline. Valence-specific effects of mood on CBF were obtained for subcortical, but not for frontal-temporal or control regions. CBF increased in left amygdala and decreased in right amygdala during sad mood relative to the averaged control conditions. These changes correlated with shifts toward negative affect. Correlations were opposite for subcortical (negative affect associated with lower left hemispheric CBF) compared with frontal-temporal cortical regions. Results support limbic involvement in regulating emotional states and suggest some reciprocity between subcortical and frontal-temporal regulation of emotional experience.