LESO Study: Mechanism of tDCS-induced learning enhancement – the role of serotonin

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can enhance learning and memory performance (e.g., during the treatment of patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairments). This non-invasive brain stimulation technique increases cortical excitability and significantly improves performance learning and memory performance (Flöel et al., 2008). Improvements, however, were small and of short duration. Nitsche et al. (2009), however, demonstrated that a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) enlarges the neuroplastic excitability enhancement accomplished by tDCS over the motorcortex. This study, therefore, investigated whether an SSRI (Citalopram) also enhances and prolongs tDCS-induced neuroplasticity during an object-location learning task in young and older healthy subjects.

Study director: Prof. Dr. Agnes Flöel (WG Cognitive Neurology, NCRC, Neurology CCM)

Course of the study: 04/2014 - 12/2014

This study is registered in the database clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02092974).

Prehn, K., H. Stengl, U. Grittner, R. Kosiolek, A. Olschlager, A. Weidemann, and A. Floel. "Effects of Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Serotonergic Enhancement on Memory Performance in Young and Older Adults." Neuropsychopharmacology 42, no. 2 (Jan 2017): 551-61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2016.170. Link