High resolution fMRI of subcortical regions during visual erotic stimulation at 7 T

Martin Walter, Joerg Stadler, Claus Tempelmann, Oliver Speck, Georg Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Object: Involvement of distinct subcortical structures during sexual arousal was shown in animals and functional imaging studies gave coarse evidence for a similar organisation in humans. In contrast to previous imaging studies at lower field strengths, we tried to investigate activation in distinguishable subcortical structures at high spatial resolution during a short stimulating paradigm to further account for potential effects of attenuation or adaptation. Materials and methods: Seven healthy subjects were investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on a 7 T scanner. High resolution EPI images of 1.4 × 1.4 mm2 inplane resolution were acquired in a single functional session of 13.6 minutes. During the session erotic and non-erotic pictures were presented in an event-related design. Results: In the unsmoothed data with preserved high spatial resolution significant effects were detected in relevant structures, including anterior caudate and mediodorsal thalamus. These effects were restricted to subcortical target structures and their anatomical boundaries. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that fMRI at high fields provides an ideal tool to investigate functional anatomy of subcortical structures. Due to an increased signal-to-noise ratio, functional scans of short duration can be acquired at high resolution without the need for further spatial smoothing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalMagnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Emotions and motivation
  • Functional MR
  • High field MR
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Neuroradiology
  • Subcortical structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Genetics


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