Transient left ventricular dysfunction in patients under emotional stress, also known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, has been recognized as a distinct clinical entity. Recent studies have supported the concept notion that the cardiovascular system is regulated by cortical modulation. A network consisting of the insular cortex (Ic), anterior cingulate gyrus, and amygdala plays a crucial role in the regulation of the central autonomic nervous system in relation to emotional stress such as anxiety, fear and sadness. Because the Ic is located in the region of the middle cerebral arteries, its structure tends to be exposed to a higher risk of cerebrovascular disease. Ic damage has been associated with myocardial injury, increased brain natriuretic peptide, and the incidence of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Because Ic damage has been associated with increased sympathetic nervous system activity, Ic damage is suggested to have a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. In this review, we focus on the role of the Ic as a mediator for the cardiovascular system in relation to emotional stress, and we summarizes the current knowledge on the relationships between the Ic and Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.
Keywords: Insular cortex, takotsubo cardiomyopathy, stroke, sympathetic nervous system.
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