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Heart rate variability and salivary cortisol changing during and after transcranial direct current stimulation in healthy volunteers under visual stimuli of neutral and negative affect

Grant number: 10/10797-5
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: October 01, 2010 - March 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine
Principal Investigator:Isabela Judith Martins Bensenor
Grantee:Isabela Judith Martins Bensenor
Home Institution: Hospital Universitário (HU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Andre Russowsky Brunoni ; Felipe Fregni ; Paulo Andrade Lotufo ; Paulo Sérgio Boggio


Heart rate variability (HRV) and salivary cortisol changing reflect, respectively, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and Autonomous Nervous System (ANS) functioning that vary during stressful events. While ANS is regulated by brainstem nuclei, the HPA system is regulated by subcortical structures. However, both are ultimately regulated by cortical structures; under stressful events or contexts, cortical modulation of subcortical areas is diminished, with higher sympathetic activity (and lower HRV) and higher production of cortisol; while, during rest, there is higher parasympathetic activity, with opposite effects. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS - a non-invasive, neuromodulatory technique) can increase or decrease cortical activity according to the parameters of stimulation (anodal and cathodal, respectively). However, there is not enough studies addressing whether tDCS modifies HPA and ANS functioning. Therefore, we propose a randomized, double-blinded, factorial study in which 20 healthy volunteers are going to be sequentially presented to visual stimuli of neutral and negative affect while receiving anodal, cathodal or sham stimulation over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, in three different days. Our hypothesis is that there will be a lower stressful response and a higher stressful response during anodal and cathodal stimulation, respectively, reflecting higher and lower cortical activity. Therefore, our aim is to study tDCS effects on the ANS and HPA axis, which might contribute to further research on the fields of psychiatry, neurology, cardiology and translational research. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
BRUNONI, ANDRE R.; VANDERHASSELT, MARIE-ANNE; BOGGIO, PAULO S.; FREGNI, FELIPE; DANTAS, EDUARDO MIRANDA; MILL, JOSE G.; LOTUFO, PAULO A.; BENSENOR, ISABELA M. Polarity- and valence-dependent effects of prefrontal transcranial direct current stimulation on heart rate variability and salivary cortisol. PSYCHONEUROENDOCRINOLOGY, v. 38, n. 1, p. 58-66, JAN 2013. Web of Science Citations: 47.

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