Gereon R Fink

Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

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Publications (402)2108.15 Total impact

  • Pascasie L. Dombert · Gereon R. Fink · Simone Vossel ·
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    ABSTRACT: Allocation of attentional resources rests on predictions about the likelihood of events. While this effect has been extensively studied in the spatial attention domain where the location of a target stimulus is pre-cued, less is known about the cueing of stimulus features such as the color of a behaviorally relevant target. Moreover, there is disagreement about which types of color cues are effective for biasing attention. Here we investigated the effects of probabilistic context (percentage of cue validity, %CV) for different levels of cue abstraction to elucidate how feature-based search information is processed and used to direct attention. The color of a target was cued by presenting the perceptual color, the color word, or two-letter abbreviations. %CV, i.e., the probability that the cue indicated the color correctly, changed unpredictably between 50, 70, and 90 %. Response times (RTs) for valid and invalid trials in each %CV condition were recorded in 60 datasets and analyzed with analyses of variance. The results showed that all cues were associated with comparable RT costs after invalid cueing. The modulation of RT costs by probabilities, however, depended upon level of cue abstraction and time on task: While a strong, immediate impact of %CV was found for two-letter cueing, the effect was solely observed in the second half of the experiment for perceptual and word cues. These results demonstrate that probabilistic feature-based information is processed differently for different levels of cue abstraction. Moreover, the modulatory effect of the environmental statistics differentially depends on the time on task for different feature cues.
    Experimental Brain Research 11/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00221-015-4487-2 · 2.04 Impact Factor
  • Sylvia Kreutzer · Gereon R. Fink · Ralph Weidner ·
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    ABSTRACT: The current study determined in healthy subjects (n = 16) whether size adaptation occurs at early, i.e., preattentive, levels of processing or whether higher cognitive processes such as attention can modulate the illusion. To investigate this issue, bottom-up stimulation was kept constant across conditions by using a single adaptation display containing both small and large adapter stimuli. Subjects' attention was directed to either the large or small adapter stimulus by means of a luminance detection task. When attention was directed toward the small as compared to the large adapter, the perceived size of the subsequent target was significantly increased. Data suggest that different size adaptation effects can be induced by one and the same stimulus depending on the current allocation of attention. This indicates that size adaptation is subject to attentional modulation. These findings are in line with previous research showing that transient as well as sustained attention modulates visual features, such as contrast sensitivity and spatial frequency, and influences adaptation in other contexts, such as motion adaptation (Alais & Blake, 1999; Lankheet & Verstraten, 1995). Based on a recently suggested model (Pooresmaeili, Arrighi, Biagi, & Morrone, 2013), according to which perceptual adaptation is based on local excitation and inhibition in V1, we conclude that guiding attention can boost these local processes in one or the other direction by increasing the weight of the attended adapter. In sum, perceptual adaptation, although reflected in changes of neural activity at early levels (as shown in the aforementioned study), is nevertheless subject to higher-order modulation.
    Journal of Vision 11/2015; 15(15):10. DOI:10.1167/15.15.10 · 2.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The human brain readily perceives fluent movement from static input. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated brain mechanisms that mediate fluent apparent biological motion (ABM) perception from sequences of body postures. We presented body and nonbody stimuli varying in objective sequence duration and fluency of apparent movement. Three body postures were ordered to produce a fluent (ABC) or a nonfluent (ACB) apparent movement. This enabled us to identify brain areas involved in the perceptual reconstruction of body movement from identical lower-level static input. Participants judged the duration of a rectangle containing body/nonbody sequences, as an implicit measure of movement fluency. For body stimuli, fluent apparent motion sequences produced subjectively longer durations than nonfluent sequences of the same objective duration. This difference was reduced for nonbody stimuli. This body-specific bias in duration perception was associated with increased blood oxygen level-dependent responses in the primary (M1) and supplementary motor areas. Moreover, fluent ABM was associated with increased functional connectivity between M1/SMA and right fusiform body area. We show that perceptual reconstruction of fluent movement from static body postures does not merely enlist areas traditionally associated with visual body processing, but involves cooperative recruitment of motor areas, consistent with a "motor way of seeing".
    Cerebral Cortex 11/2015; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhv262 · 8.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mobilizing endogenous neural stem cells (NSCs) in the adult brain is designed to enhance the brain's regenerative capacity after cerebral lesions, e.g., as a result of stroke. Cerebral ischemia elicits neuroinflammatory processes affecting NSCs in multiple ways, the precise mechanisms of which currently remain elusive. An inhibitory effect of minocycline on microglia activation, a hallmark of postischemic neuroinflammation, has already been demonstrated in clinical trials, showing minocycline to be safe and potentially effective in ischemic stroke. Here we investigate the direct effects of minocycline and of proinflammatory cytokines on the differentiation potential of NSCs in vitro and in vivo. Primary fetal rat NSCs were treated with minocycline plus a combination of the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin 1β, and interleukin 6. The differentiation fate of NSCs was assessed immunocytochemically. To investigate the effects of minocycline and inflammation in vivo, minocycline or lipopolysaccharides were injected intraperitoneally into adult rats, with subsequent immunohistochemistry. Minocycline alone did not affect the differentiation potential of NSCs in vivo or in vitro. In contrast, proinflammatory cytokines accelerated the differentiation of NSCs, promoting an astrocytic fate while inhibiting neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo. It is interesting to note that minocycline counteracted this cytokine-induced rapid astrocytic differentiation and restored the neurogenic and oligodendrogliogenic potential of NSCs. Data suggest that minocycline antagonizes the rapid glial differentiation induced by proinflammatory cytokines following cerebral ischemia but without having a direct effect on the differentiation potential of NSCs. Thus, minocycline constitutes a promising drug for stroke research, counteracting the detrimental effects of postischemic neuroinflammation in multiple ways. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 11/2015; DOI:10.1002/jnr.23686 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Data is inconsistent concerning the question whether cognitive-physical training (CPT) yields stronger cognitive gains than cognitive training (CT). Effects of additional counseling, neurobiological mechanisms, and predictors have scarcely been studied. Healthy older adults were trained with CT (n = 20), CPT (n = 25), or CPT with counseling (CPT+C; n = 23). Cognition, physical fitness, BDNF, IGF-1, and VEGF were assessed at pre- and post-test. No interaction effects were found except for one effect showing that CPT+C led to stronger gains in verbal fluency than CPT (p = 0.03). However, this superiority could not be assigned to additional physical training gains. Low baseline cognitive performance and BDNF, not carrying apoE4, gains in physical fitness and the moderation of gains in physical fitness × gains in BDNF predicted training success. Although all types of interventions seem successful to enhance cognition, our data do not support the hypotheses that CPT shows superior CT gains compared to CT or that CPT+C adds merit to CPT. However, as CPT leads to additional gains in physical fitness which in turn is known to have positive impact on cognition in the long-term, CPT seems more beneficial. Training success can partly be predicted by neuropsychological, neurobiological, and genetic parameters. Unique Identifier: WHO ICTRP (; ID: DRKS00005194.
    Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 10/2015; 7. DOI:10.3389/fnagi.2015.00187 · 4.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) constitutes a promising approach for promoting recovery of function after stroke, although the underlying neurobiological mechanisms are unclear. To conduct translational research in animal models, stimulation parameters should not lead to neuronal lesions. Liebetanz et al. recommend charge densities for cathodal stimulation in rats, but parameters for mice are not established. We established tDCS in the wild-type mouse, enabling studies with genetically-engineered mice (GEM). tDCS equipment was adapted to fit the mouse skull. Using different polarities and charge densities, tDCS was safe to apply in the mouse where the charge density was below 198 kC/m(2) for single or repeated stimulations. These findings are crucial for future investigations of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying tDCS using GEM.
    Laboratory Animals 10/2015; DOI:10.1177/0023677215610708 · 1.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During rehabilitation after stroke motor sequence learning is of particular importance because considerable effort is devoted to (re)acquiring lost motor skills. Previous studies suggest that implicit motor sequence learning is preserved in stroke patients but were restricted to the spatial dimension, although the timing of single action components is as important as their spatial order. As the left parietal cortex is known to play a critical role in implicit timing and spatiotemporal integration, in this study we applied an adapted version of the SRT task designed to assess both spatial (different stimulus locations) and temporal (different response-stimulus intervals) aspects of motor learning to 24 right-handed patients with a single left-hemisphere (LH) stroke and 24 age-matched healthy controls. Implicit retrieval of sequence knowledge was tested both at Day 1 and after 24 hr (Day 2). Additionally, voxel-based lesion symptom mapping was used to investigate the neurobiological substrates of the behavioral effects. Although LH stroke patients showed a combined spatiotemporal learning effect that was comparable to that observed in controls, LH stroke patients did not show learning effects for the learning probes in which only one type of sequence information was maintained whereas the other one was randomized. Particularly on Day 2, patients showed significantly smaller learning scores for these two learning probes than controls. Voxel-based lesion symptom mapping analyses revealed for all learning probes that diminished learning scores on Day 2 were associated with lesions of the striatum. This might be attributed to its role in motor chunking and offline consolidation as group differences occurred on Day 2 only. The current results suggest that LH stroke patients rely on multimodal information (here: temporal and spatial information) when retrieving motor sequence knowledge and are very sensitive to any disruption of the learnt sequence information as they seem to build very rigid chunks preventing them from forming independent spatial and temporal sequence representations.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 10/2015; · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Action observation is known to trigger predictions of the ongoing course of action and thus considered a hallmark example for predictive perception. A related task, which explicitly taps into the ability to predict actions based on their internal representations, is action segmentation; the task requires participants to demarcate where one action step is completed and another one begins. It thus benefits from a temporally precise prediction of the current action. Formation and exploitation of these temporal predictions of external events is now closely associated with a network including the basal ganglia and prefrontal cortex. Because decline of dopaminergic innervation leads to impaired function of the basal ganglia and prefrontal cortex in Parkinson’s disease (PD), we hypothesised that PD patients would show increased temporal variability in the action segmentation task, especially under medication withdrawal (hypothesis 1). Another crucial aspect of action segmentation is its reliance on a semantic representation of actions. There is no evidence to suggest that action representations are substantially altered, or cannot be accessed, in non-demented PD patients. We therefore expected action segmentation judgments to follow the same overall patterns in PD patients and healthy controls (hypothesis 2), resulting in comparable segmentation profiles. Both hypotheses were tested with a novel classification approach. We present evidence for both hypotheses in the present study: classifier performance was slightly decreased when it was tested for its ability to predict the identity of movies segmented by PD patients, and a measure of normativity of response behaviour was decreased when patients segmented movies under medication-withdrawal without access to an episodic memory of the sequence. This pattern of results is consistent with hypothesis 1. However, the classifier analysis also revealed that responses given by patients and controls create very similar action-specific patterns, thus delivering evidence in favour hypothesis 2. In terms of methodology, the use of classifiers in the present study allowed us to establish similarity of behaviour across groups (hypothesis 2). The approach opens up a new avenue that standard statistical methods often fail to provide and is discussed in terms of its merits to measure hypothesised similarities across study populations.
    Neuropsychologia 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.09.034 · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease (PD) is often attributed to dopamine deficiency in the prefrontal-basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loops. Although recent studies point to a close interplay between motor and cognitive abilities in PD, the so-called "motor loop" connecting supplementary motor area (SMA) and putamen has been considered solely with regard to the patients' motor impairment. Our study challenges this view by testing patients with the serial prediction task (SPT), a cognitive task that requires participants to predict stimulus sequences and particularly engages premotor sites of the motor loop. We hypothesized that affection of the motor loop causes impaired SPT performance, especially when the internal sequence representation is challenged by suspension of external stimuli. As shown for motor tasks, we further expected this impairment to be compensated by hyperactivity of the lateral premotor cortex (PM). We tested 16 male PD patients ON and OFF dopaminergic medication and 16 male age-matched healthy controls in an functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging study. All subjects performed two versions of the SPT: one with on-going sequences (SPT0), and one with sequences containing non-informative wildcards (SPT+) increasing the demands on mnemonic sequence representation. Patients ON (compared to controls) revealed an impaired performance coming along with hypoactivity of SMA and putamen. Patients OFF compared to ON medication, while showing poorer performance, exhibited a significantly increased PM activity for SPT+ vs. SPT0. Furthermore, patients' performance positively co-varied with PM activity, corroborating a compensatory account. Our data reveal a contribution of the motor loop to cognitive impairment in PD, and suggest a close interplay of SMA and PM beyond motor control.
    Neuropsychologia 09/2015; 77. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.09.017 · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several neurobiological factors have been found to correlate with functional recovery after brain lesions. However, predicting the individual potential of recovery remains difficult. Here we used multivariate support vector machine (SVM) classification to explore the prognostic value of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to predict individual motor outcome at 4–6 months post-stroke. To this end, 21 first-ever stroke patients with hand motor deficits participated in an fMRI hand motor task in the first few days post-stroke. Motor impairment was quantified assessing grip force and the Action Research Arm Test. Linear SVM classifiers were trained to predict good versus poor motor outcome of unseen new patients. We found that fMRI activity acquired in the first week post-stroke correctly predicted the outcome for 86% of all patients. In contrast, the concurrent assessment of motor function provided 76% accuracy with low sensitivity (<60%). Furthermore, the outcome of patients with initially moderate impairment and high outcome variability could not be predicted based on motor tests. In contrast, fMRI provided 87.5% prediction accuracy in these patients. Classifications were driven by activity in ipsilesional motor areas and contralesional cerebellum. The accuracy of subacute fMRI data (two weeks post-stroke), age, time post-stroke, lesion volume, and location were at 50%-chance-level. In conclusion, multivariate decoding of fMRI data with SVM early after stroke enables a robust prediction of motor recovery. The potential for recovery is influenced by the initial dysfunction of the active motor system, particularly in those patients whose outcome cannot be predicted by behavioral tests. Hum Brain Mapp, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 08/2015; DOI:10.1002/hbm.22936 · 5.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Theories of lateralized cognitive functions propose a dominance of the left hemisphere for motor control and of the right hemisphere for spatial attention. Accordingly, spatial attention deficits (e.g., neglect) are more frequently observed after right-hemispheric stroke, whereas apraxia is a common consequence of left-hemispheric stroke. Clinical reports of spatial attentional deficits after left hemisphere (LH) stroke also exist, but are often neglected. By applying parallel analysis (PA) and voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) to data from a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of 74 LH stroke patients, we here systematically investigate the relationship between spatial inattention and apraxia and their neural bases. PA revealed that apraxic (and language comprehension) deficits loaded on one common component, while deficits in attention tests were explained by another independent component. Statistical lesion analyses with the individual component scores showed that apraxic (and language comprehension) deficits were significantly associated with lesions of the left superior longitudinal fascicle (SLF). Data suggest that in LH stroke spatial attention deficits dissociate from apraxic (and language comprehension) deficits. These findings contribute to models of lateralised cognitive functions in the human brain. Moreover, our findings strongly suggest that LH stroke patients should be assessed systematically for spatial attention deficits so that these can be included in their rehabilitation regime. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Cortex 07/2015; 71:349-358. DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2015.07.023 · 5.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In patients with small-fiber neuropathy (SFN), noninvasive diagnostic tests that allow accurate monitoring of disease progression are urgently needed. The aim of this study was to assess corneal trigeminal small sensory nerves and immune cells by in vivo corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) in SFN. In this prospective single-center study, 14 patients with histologically confirmed SFN were analyzed. CCM parameters [corneal nerve fiber density (NFD); the total number of nerves, main trunks, and branches; nerve tortuosity; and dendritic cell density] were compared with 14 age-matched healthy controls and correlated with clinical symptoms, disease course, and histopathological findings. Corneal NFD (15,489.3 ± 5927.6 μm/mm vs. 22,687.1 ± 4328.7 μm/mm; P = 0.001) and the total number of nerves (10.4 ± 4.6/frame vs. 18.5 ± 4.8/frame; P < 0.0001) were significantly reduced in patients with SFN. In contrast, nerve tortuosity was significantly increased (2.2 ± 0.3 vs. 1.7 ± 0.5; P = 0.02). Corneal NFD did not correlate with intraepidermal NFD (ρ = -0.158; P = 0.5) or clinical symptoms (cold P = 0.1; prickling P = 0.2; burning P = 0.8; formication P = 0.7; stabbing P = 0.4; rubbing 0.1; pressure P = 0.1). The average dendritic cell density was increased in SFN (33.5 ± 57.5 cells/mm vs. 16.1 ± 13.7 cells/mm) but did not reach significance (P = 0.7). CCM provides parameters that reliably indicate injury to sensory afferents of the trigeminal nerve in patients with SFN. Our data suggest that CCM may serve both as a noninvasive diagnostic test and as a surrogate marker in SFN.
    Cornea 07/2015; 34(9). DOI:10.1097/ICO.0000000000000535 · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Voluntary movements depend on a well-regulated interplay between the primary motor cortex (M1) and premotor areas. While to date the neural underpinnings of hand movements are relatively well understood, we only have rather limited knowledge on the cortical control of lower-limb movements. Given that our hands and feet have different roles for activities of daily living, with hand movements being more frequently used in a lateralized fashion, we hypothesized that such behavioral differences also impact onto network dynamics underlying upper and lower limb movements. We, therefore, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and dynamic causal modeling (DCM) to investigate differences in effective connectivity underlying isolated movements of the hands or feet in 16 healthy subjects. The connectivity analyses revealed that both movements of the hand and feet were accompanied by strong facilitatory coupling of the respective contralateral M1 representations with premotor areas of both hemispheres. However, excitatory influences were significantly lower for movements of the feet compared to hand movements. During hand movements, the M1hand representation ipsilateral to the movement was strongly inhibited by premotor regions and the contralateral M1 homologue. In contrast, interhemispheric inhibition was absent between the M1foot representations during foot movements. Furthermore, M1foot ipsilateral to the moving foot exerted promoting influences onto contralateral M1foot. In conclusion, the generally stronger and more lateralized coupling pattern associated with hand movements suggest distinct fine-tuning of cortical control to underlie voluntary movements with the upper compared to the lower limb. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 06/2015; 119. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.05.101 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The responsiveness to non-invasive neuromodulation protocols shows high inter-individual variability, the reasons of which remain poorly understood. We here tested whether the response to intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS) - an effective repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocol for increasing cortical excitability - depends on network properties of the cortical motor system. We furthermore investigated whether the responsiveness to iTBS is dose-dependent. To this end, we used a sham-stimulation controlled, single-blinded within-subject design testing for the relationship between iTBS aftereffects and (i) motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) as well as (ii) resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) in 16 healthy subjects. In each session, three blocks of iTBS were applied, separated by 15 min. We found that non-responders (subjects not showing an MEP increase of ≥10% after one iTBS block) featured stronger rsFC between the stimulated primary motor cortex (M1) and premotor areas before stimulation compared to responders. However, only the group of responders showed increases in rsFC and MEPs, while most non-responders remained close to baseline levels after all three blocks of iTBS. Importantly, there was still a large amount of variability in both groups. Our data suggest that responsiveness to iTBS at the local level (i.e., M1 excitability) depends upon the pre-interventional network connectivity of the stimulated region. Of note, increasing iTBS dose did not turn non-responders into responders. The finding that higher levels of pre-interventional connectivity precluded a response to iTBS could reflect a ceiling effect underlying non-responsiveness to iTBS at the systems level. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 06/2015; 118. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.06.004 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with distinct metabolic covariance patterns that relate to the motor and cognitive manifestations of the disorder. It is not known, however, how the expression of these patterns relates to measurements of nigrostriatal dopaminergic activity from the same individuals. To explore these associations, we studied 106 PD subjects who underwent cerebral PET with both (18) F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and (18) F-fluoro-L-dopa (FDOPA). Expression values for the PD motor- and cognition-related metabolic patterns (PDRP and PDCP, respectively) were computed for each subject; these measures were correlated with FDOPA uptake on a voxel-by-voxel basis. To explore the relationship between dopaminergic function and local metabolic activity, caudate and putamen FDOPA PET signal was correlated voxel-wise with FDG uptake over the entire brain. PDRP expression correlated with FDOPA uptake in caudate and putamen (P < 0.001), while PDCP expression correlated with uptake in the anterior striatum (P < 0.001). While statistically significant, the correlations were only of modest size, accounting for less than 20% of the overall variation in these measures. After controlling for PDCP expression, PDRP correlations were significant only in the posterior putamen. Of note, voxel-wise correlations between caudate/putamen FDOPA uptake and whole-brain FDG uptake were significant almost exclusively in PDRP regions. Overall, the data indicate that PDRP and PDCP expression correlates significantly with PET indices of presynaptic dopaminergic functioning obtained in the same individuals. Even so, the modest size of these correlations suggests that in PD patients, individual differences in network activity cannot be explained solely by nigrostriatal dopamine loss. Hum Brain Mapp, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 06/2015; 36(9). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22863 · 5.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We evaluated the diagnostic value of static and dynamic O-(2-[(18)F]fluoroethyl)-l-tyrosine ((18)F-FET) PET parameters in patients with progressive or recurrent glioma. We retrospectively analyzed 132 dynamic (18)F-FET PET and conventional MRI scans of 124 glioma patients (primary World Health Organization grade II, n = 55; grade III, n = 19; grade IV, n = 50; mean age, 52 ± 14 y). Patients had been referred for PET assessment with clinical signs and/or MRI findings suggestive of tumor progression or recurrence based on Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology criteria. Maximum and mean tumor/brain ratios of (18)F-FET uptake were determined (20-40 min post-injection) as well as tracer uptake kinetics (ie, time to peak and patterns of the time-activity curves). Diagnoses were confirmed histologically (95%) or by clinical follow-up (5%). Diagnostic accuracies of PET and MR parameters for the detection of tumor progression or recurrence were evaluated by receiver operating characteristic analyses/chi-square test. Tumor progression or recurrence could be diagnosed in 121 of 132 cases (92%). MRI and (18)F-FET PET findings were concordant in 84% and discordant in 16%. Compared with the diagnostic accuracy of conventional MRI to diagnose tumor progression or recurrence (85%), a higher accuracy (93%) was achieved by (18)F-FET PET when a mean tumor/brain ratio ≥2.0 or time to peak <45 min was present (sensitivity, 93%; specificity, 100%; accuracy, 93%; positive predictive value, 100%; P < .001). Static and dynamic (18)F-FET PET parameters differentiate progressive or recurrent glioma from treatment-related nonneoplastic changes with higher accuracy than conventional MRI. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Neuro-Oncology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
    Neuro-Oncology 05/2015; 17(9). DOI:10.1093/neuonc/nov088 · 5.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteopontin (OPN) is a phosphoglycoprotein with important roles in tissue homeostasis, wound healing, immune regulation, and stress responses. It is expressed constitutively in the brain and upregulated during neuroinflammatory responses, e.g., after focal cerebral ischemia. To date, its effects on neural stem cells (NSC) remain to be elucidated and are, accordingly, subject of this study. Primary fetal rat NSC were cultured as homogenous monolayers and treated with different concentrations of OPN. Fundamental properties of NSC were assessed following OPN exposure, including proliferative activity, survival under oxidative stress, migration, and differentiation potential. To elucidate a putative action of OPN via the CXC chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4), the latter was blocked with AMD3100. To investigate effects of OPN on endogenous NSC in vivo, recombinant OPN was injected into the brain of healthy adult rats as well as rats subjected to focal cerebral ischemia. Effects of OPN on NSC proliferation and neurogenesis in the subventricular zone (SVZ) were studied immunohistochemically. OPN dose-dependently increased the number of NSC in vitro. As hypothesized, this effect was mediated through CXCR4. The increase in NSC number was due to both enhanced cell proliferation and increased survival, and was confirmed in vivo. Additionally, OPN dose-dependently stimulated the migration of NSC via CXCR4. Moreover, in the presence of OPN, differentiation of NSC led to a significant increase in neurogenesis both in vitro as well as in vivo after cerebral ischemia. Data show positive effects of OPN on survival, proliferation, migration, and neuronal differentiation of NSC. At least in part these effects were mediated via CXCR4. Results suggest that OPN is a promising substance for the targeted activation of NSC in future experimental therapies for neurological disorders such as stroke.
    Stem Cell Research & Therapy 05/2015; 6(1):99. DOI:10.1186/s13287-015-0098-x · 3.37 Impact Factor

  • The Lancet 05/2015; 385(9979):1802. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60451-2 · 45.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The synthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) in the brain can be directly altered by dietary manipulation of their relevant precursor amino acids (AA). There is evidence that altered serotonergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission are both associated with impaired attentional control. Specifically, phasic alertness is one specific aspect of attention that has been linked to changes in 5-HT and DA availability in different neurocircuitries related to attentional processes. The present study investigated the impact of short-term reductions in central nervous system 5-HT and DA synthesis, which was achieved by dietary depletion of the relevant precursor AA, on phasic alertness in healthy adult volunteers; body weight-adapted dietary tryptophan and phenylalanine-tyrosine depletion (PTD) techniques were used. The study employed a double-blind between-subject design. Fifty healthy male and female subjects were allocated to three groups in a randomized and counterbalanced manner and received three different dietary challenge conditions: acute tryptophan depletion (ATD, for the depletion of 5-HT; N=16), PTD (for the depletion of DA; N=17), and a balanced AA load (BAL; N=17), which served as a control condition. Three hours after challenge intake (ATD/PTD/BAL), phasic alertness was assessed using a standardized test battery for attentional performance (TAP). Blood samples for AA level analyses were obtained at baseline and 360 min after the challenge intake. Overall, there were no significant differences in phasic alertness for the different challenge conditions. Regarding PTD administration, a positive correlation between the reaction times and the DA-related depletion magnitude was detected via the lower plasma tyrosine levels and the slow reaction times of the first run of the task. In contrast, higher tryptophan concentrations were associated with slower reaction times in the fourth run of the task in the same challenge group. The present study is the first to demonstrate preliminary data that support an association between decreased central nervous system DA synthesis, which was achieved by dietary depletion strategies, and slower reaction times in specific runs of a task designed to assess phasic alertness in healthy adult volunteers; these findings are consistent with previous evidence that links phasic alertness with dopaminergic neurotransmission. A lack of significant differences between the three groups could be due to compensatory mechanisms and the limited sample size, as well as the dietary challenge procedures administered to healthy participants and the strict exclusion criteria used. The potential underlying neurochemical processes related to phasic alertness should be the subject of further investigations.
    Food & Nutrition Research 04/2015; 59:26407. DOI:10.3402/fnr.v59.26407 · 1.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Subthalamic deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) can ameliorate gait disturbances in Parkinson's disease (PD). Using motor imagery and positron emission tomography (PET), we investigated how STN-DBS interacts with supraspinal locomotor centers in PD.Methods Ten PD patients with bilateral STN-DBS actually walked or stood still under STN-DBS ON or OFF conditions. Directly thereafter, subjects imagined walking or standing while changes in regional cerebral blood flow were measured by PET.ResultsIndependent of STN-DBS, imagined walking distance correlated with imagery duration. Compared with STN-DBS OFF, STN-DBS ON improved actual gait and increased imagined walking distance. Imagery of gait (vs. stance) induced activity in the supplementary motor area and the right superior parietal lobule for both STN-DBS conditions. The improvement of imagined gait during STN-DBS ON led to activity changes in the pedunculopontine nucleus/mesencephalic locomotor region (PPN/MLR).Conclusions Data suggest that STN-DBS improves Parkinsonian gait by modulating PPN/MLR activity. © 2015 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
    Movement Disorders 04/2015; 30(8). DOI:10.1002/mds.26229 · 5.68 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

19k Citations
2,108.15 Total Impact Points


  • 2001-2015
    • Forschungszentrum Jülich
      • • Institute of Neurosciences and Medicine (INM)
      • • Kognitive Neurologie (INM-3)
      Jülich, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • Università degli studi di Parma
      • Department of Neurosciences
      Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 1991-2015
    • University of Cologne
      • • Department of Neurology
      • • Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
      • • Institute of Anatomy I
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1993-2013
    • Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research
      • Group of Neuromodulation und Neurorehabilitation
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2012
    • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
      • Center for Autism Research
      Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 2007-2008
    • Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
      • Unit of Neurobiology
      Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
  • 2002-2007
    • RWTH Aachen University
      • Department of Neurology
      Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • University Hospital RWTH Aachen
      • Department of Neurology
      Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2005
    • Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati di Trieste
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
    • Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME
      Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2000-2005
    • Neurologische Klinik Westend
      Бад Вилдунген, Hesse, Germany
    • Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
      Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany