Characterization of the Relationship Between the Mesolimbic Reward System and Immune Functioning in Humans Via fMRI Neurofeedback
Characterization of the Relationship Between the Human Mesolimbic Reward System and Immune Functioning
Lead sponsor: Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center
Collaborator: Technion, Israel Institute of Technology
|Source||Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center|
The purpose of this study is to characterize the link between neurobehavioral measures of the mesolimbic reward system and immune functioning in healthy individuals, via fMRI neurofeedback modulation of mesolimbic reward system, and the consecutive assesment of immune response to Hepatitis B vaccination.
For many years, the link between mental processes and physical health has remained obscure. Yet, over time, studies have begun to shed light on the intimate relationship between one's physical condition and mental state. One body of research aimed at elucidating the mind-body relationship is the study of the placebo effect. Placebo effects result mainly from conscious expectations to become healthy in therapeutic settings, and from unconscious conditioned responses to therapeutical settings that predict beneficial outcomes. Both processes are asociated with the neuronal reward system, which mediates reward processing, reward valuation and value based-learning. However, it remains unclear how do these processes mediated by the reward system promote therapeutic effects?
A recent study established a causal relationship between mesolimbic activation (VTA) and a measurable immunological response in mice. Stimulation of the VTA increased anti-bacterial immune functioning, an effect that was mediated by sympathetic nervous system, which is regulated by the brain and innervates all immune organs.
In light of these findings, the current study aims to assess the relationship between reward-related brain activation and immune functions in humans. fMRI Neurofeedback, a task that allows individuals to self modulate specified neural patterns in real-time, will be used to induce mesolimbic activation, following which healthy individuals will vaccinate against Hepatitis B. Immunological effects will be assessed by comparing immunological measures with respect to Hepatitis B prior and following mesolimbic activation and Hepatitis B vaccination.
The long-term goal of this study is to demonstrate a causal link between reward activation and an objective measurable physiological response of great significance, and to develop the means for individuals to exploit such mechanism for boosting immune functioning. i.e. to harness endogenous reward-related brain activation to strengthen the immune system, for clinical pathologies such as autoimmune diseases, maleble pathogens, cancer, etc.
|Start Date||January 20, 2019|
|Completion Date||March 28, 2022|
|Primary Completion Date||December 31, 2021|
Intervention type: Behavioral
Intervention name: Neuromodulation via fMRI Neurofeedback task
Description: Two active neurofeedback groups will practice to up regulate their designated neural targets via identical experimental protocol (varying only the origin of the feedback).
Intervention type: Biological
Intervention name: Hepatitis B vaccination
Description: Subjects will be vaccinated against Hepatitis B
Inclusion Criteria: - Healthy participants - Normal or corrected to normal vision - Compatibility with general MRI requirements Exclusion Criteria: - History of neurological or psychiatric diseases - Have received Hepatitis B vaccination in the last 10 years
- Healthy participants
- Normal or corrected to normal vision
- Compatibility with general MRI requirements
- History of neurological or psychiatric diseases
- Have received Hepatitis B vaccination in the last 10 years
Minimum age: 18 Years
Maximum age: 60 Years
Healthy volunteers: Accepts Healthy Volunteers
Last name: Nitzan Lubianiker
Email: [email protected]
Responsible party type: Sponsor
|Has Expanded Access||No|
|Number Of Arms||3|
Arm group label: Mesolimbic Neurofeedback
Arm group type: Experimental
Description: Neuromodulation via fMRI Neurofeedback task: subjects will participate in four fMRI-NF sessions, up-regulating co-activation of three mesolimbic reward nodes: ventral tegmental area, and bilateral ventral striatum. Hepatitis B vaccination: subjects will receive vaccination against Hepatitis B.
Arm group label: Control Neurofeedback
Arm group type: Active Comparator
Description: Neuromodulation via fMRI Neurofeedback task: subjects will participate in four fMRI-NF sessions, up-regulating co-activation of regions comprising with one of K control networks. Hepatitis B vaccination: subjects will receive vaccination against Hepatitis B.
Arm group label: Natural history
Arm group type: Other
Description: No brain manipulation (Assesment of natural history immune response). Hepatitis B vaccination: subjects will receive vaccination against Hepatitis B.
|Study Design Info||
Intervention model: Parallel Assignment
Intervention model description:
Experimental arm: fMRI neurofeedback to mesolimbic system (the ventral tegmental area, and bilateral ventral striatum).
Primary purpose: Basic Science
Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Masking description: Both participants and study personnel (Investigators and outcomes assessor) in the two active experimental arms (Mesolimbic NF and Control NF) will be blinded to group allocation.