A01 A02 A03 A04 A05 A06 A07 A09 A10 A11 A12 A13 A14 A18 A19 A21 F01 F02 INF

A06 –Testing for causality of fear extinction: Networks, plasticity, and beyond

Michael Nitsche, Fatemeh Yavari

In this project we will explore the specific interaction between the anterior network (hippocampus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex) and the cerebellum during extinction (study 1), develop non-invasive brain stimulation protocols suited for targeted modulation of extinction-relevant areas identified in that study (study 2), apply these to explore the causality of respective physiological interactions for extinction (study 3), and reveal cellular mechanisms of respective target structures for extinction by combining pharmacology (relevance of serotonin) and stimulation (study 4).

Guiding questions of A06:

  • Does the cerebellum interact with anterior parts of the extinction network with regards to synchronization of activity, including oscillatory activity, during fear extinction?
  • What is the specific role of intrinsic cerebellar versus cerebellar-anterior network interactions during fear extinction- true interaction or modulatory role of the cerebellum?
  • Does intervention with non-invasive brain stimulation of respective target areas combined with serotonergic enhancement result in optimized fear extinction due to plasticity modulation?

Michael A. Nitsche

Projektleiter A06


Fatemeh Yavari

Projektleiterin A06


Vuk Markovic

Doktorand A06


Harleen Chhabra

Postdoc A06


Yuanbo Ma

Doktorand A06


10 project-relevant publications

Agboada D, Mosayebi-Samani M, Kuo MF, Nitsche MA (2020) Induction of long-term potentiation-like plasticity in the primary motor cortex with repeated anodal transcranial direct current stimulation–Better effects with intensified protocols? Brain Stimul. 13: 987–997.

Batsikadze G, Rezaee Z, Chang DI, Gerwig M, Herlitze S, Dutta A, Nitsche MA, Timmann D (2019) Effects of cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation on cerebellar-brain inhibition in humans: A systematic evaluation. Brain Stimul. 12:1177–1186.

Klauss J, Anders QS, Felippe LV, Nitsche MA, Nakamura-Palacios EM (2018) Multiple sessions of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) reduced craving and relapses for alcohol use: A randomized placebo-controlled trial in alcohol use disorder. Front Pharmacol. 9: 716.

Monte-Silva K, Kuo MF, Hessenthaler S, Fresnoza S, Liebetanz D, Paulus W, Nitsche MA (2013) Induction of late LTP-like plasticity in the human motor cortex by repeated non-invasive brain stimulation. Brain Stimul. 6: 424–32.

Nejati V, Salehinejad MA, Nitsche MA (2018) Interaction of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (l-DLPFC) and right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in hot and cold executive functions: Evidence from transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Neuroscience. 369: 109–123.

Polanía R, Nitsche MA, Ruff CC (2018) Studying and modifying brain function with non-invasive brain stimulation. Nat Neurosci. 21: 174-187.

Rostami R, Kazemi R, Jabbari A, Madani AS, Rostami H, Taherpour MA, Molavi P, Jaafari N, Kuo MF, Vicario CM, Nitsche MA, Salehinejad MA (2020) Efficacy and clinical predictors of response to rTMS treatment in pharmacoresistant obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): a retrospective study. BMC Psychiatry. 20: 372.

Shahbabaie A, Hatami J, Farhoudian A, Ekhtiari H, Khatibi A, Nitsche MA (2018) Optimizing electrode montages of transcranial direct current stimulation for attentional bias modification in early abstinent methamphetamine users. Front Pharmacol. 9: 907.

Vicario CM, Nitsche MA, Hoysted I, Yavari F, Avenanti A, Salehinejad MA, Felmingham KL (2020) Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over the ventromedial prefrontal cortex enhances fear extinction in healthy humans: A single blind sham-controlled study. Brain Stimul. 13: 489–491.

Vicario CM, Salehinejad MA, Felmingham K, Martino G, Nitsche MA (2019) A systematic review on the therapeutic effectiveness of non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 96: 219–231.