Markus Ploner

Markus Ploner
Technische Universität München | TUM · Clinic of Neurology

MD

About

127
Publications
17,012
Reads
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6,227
Citations
Introduction
Our research group investigates how the human brain subserves the experience of pain in health and disease. We are particularly interested in the functional significance of neuronal oscillations and neuronal communication for the translation of objective sensory information into a subjective percept in health and disease. Our approach includes psychophysics, the advanced analysis of EEG, non-invasive brain stimulation and neurofeedback .
Additional affiliations
August 2007 - December 2008
University of Oxford
Position
  • Feodor Lynen Research Fellow
May 2007 - January 2015
Technische Universität München
Position
  • Research Group Leader, Consultant Neurologist
February 1998 - April 2007
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (127)
Article
The neural mechanisms underlying placebo analgesia have attracted considerable attention over the recent years. In contrast, little is known about the neural underpinnings of a nocebo‐induced increase in pain. We previously showed that nocebo‐induced hyperalgesia is accompanied by increased activity in the hippocampus that scaled with the perceived...
Article
Full-text available
We present three cases fulfilling diagnostic criteria of hemorrhagic variants of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (acute hemorrhagic encephalomyelitis, AHEM) occurring within 9 days after the first shot of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. AHEM was diagnosed using magnetic resonance imaging, cerebrospinal fluid analysis and brain biopsy in one case. The close t...
Article
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We present three cases fulfilling diagnostic criteria of hemorrhagic variants of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (acute hemorrhagic encephalomyelitis, AHEM) occurring within 9 days after the first shot of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. AHEM was diagnosed using magnetic resonance imaging, cerebrospinal fluid analysis and brain biopsy in one case. The close t...
Article
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Major depressive disorder (MDD), anxiety disorders (ANX), and chronic pain (CP) are closely-related disorders with both high degrees of comorbidity among them and shared risk factors. Considering this multi-level overlap, but also the distinct phenotypes of the disorders, we hypothesized both common and disorder-specific changes of large-scale brai...
Article
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The perception of pain is shaped by somatosensory information about threat. However, pain is also influenced by an individual’s expectations. Such expectations can result in clinically relevant modulations and abnormalities of pain. In the brain, sensory information, expectations (predictions), and discrepancies thereof (prediction errors) are sign...
Article
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Chronic pain is a major healthcare issue posing a large burden on individuals and society. Converging lines of evidence indicate that chronic pain is associated with substantial changes of brain structure and function. However, it remains unclear which neuronal measures relate to changes of clinical parameters over time and could thus monitor chron...
Preprint
Full-text available
The perception of pain is shaped by somatosensory information about threat. However, pain is also influenced by an individual's expectations. Such expectations can result in clinically relevant modulations and abnormalities of pain. In the brain, sensory information, expectations (predictions), and discrepancies thereof (prediction errors) are sign...
Article
Full-text available
Chronic pain is a major health care problem. A better mechanistic understanding and new treatment approaches are urgently needed. In the brain, pain has been associated with neural oscillations at alpha and gamma frequencies, which can be targeted using transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS). Thus, we investigated the potential of tACS...
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Chronic pain is a highly prevalent and severely disabling disease that is associated with substantial changes of brain function. Such changes have mostly been observed when analyzing static measures of resting-state brain activity. However, brain activity varies over time and it is increasingly recognized that the temporal dynamics of brain activit...
Article
A recent study by Lee et al. showed that a dynamic functional connectivity pattern induced by tonic experimental pain might serve as a biomarker of chronic pain. The study illustrates key topics in translational neuroscience: the differentiation of biomarker functions, the multimodal integration of biomarkers, and the functional relevance of dynami...
Article
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Fatigue, depression, and pain affect the majority of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, which causes a substantial burden to patients and society. The pathophysiology of these symptoms is not entirely clear, and current treatments are only partially effective. Clinically, these symptoms share signs of anhedonia, such as reduced motivation and a lack...
Preprint
Full-text available
Chronic pain is a highly prevalent and severely disabling disease, which is associated with substantial changes of brain function. Such changes have mostly been observed when analyzing static measures of brain activity during the resting-state. However, brain activity varies over time and it is increasingly recognized that the temporal dynamics of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Pain protects the body. However, pain can also occur for longer periods without serving protective functions. Such chronic pain conditions are difficult to treat. Thus, a better understanding of the underlying neural mechanisms and new approaches for the treatment of pain are urgently needed. Here, we investigated a causal role of oscillatory brain...
Article
Pain is frequent in multiple sclerosis (MS) and includes different types, with neuropathic pain (NP) being most closely related to MS pathology. However, prevalence estimates vary largely, and causal relationships between pain and biopsychosocial factors in MS are largely unknown. Longitudinal studies might help to clarify the prevalence and determ...
Article
Full-text available
Pain is a complex phenomenon that is served by neural oscillations and connectivity involving different brain areas and frequencies. Here, we aimed to systematically and comprehensively assess the pattern of neural oscillations and connectivity characterizing the state of tonic experimental pain in humans. To this end, we applied 10‐min heat pain s...
Article
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Introduction: Accumulating evidence suggests that neural oscillations at different frequencies and their synchrony between brain regions play a crucial role in the processing of nociceptive input and the emergence of pain. Most findings are limited by their correlative nature, however, which impedes causal inferences. Objective: To move from cor...
Article
Autonomic responses are an essential component of pain. They serve its adaptive function by regulating homeostasis and providing resources for protective and recuperative responses to noxious stimuli. To be adaptive and flexible, autonomic responses are not only determined by noxious stimulus characteristics, but likely also shaped by perceptual an...
Article
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Chronic pain is a common and severely disabling disease whose treatment is often unsatisfactory. Insights into the brain mechanisms of chronic pain promise to advance the understanding of the underlying pathophysiology and might help to develop disease markers and novel treatments. Here, we systematically exploited the potential of electroencephalo...
Article
Recent studies (Hu and Iannetti Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 2019;116:1782–1791 and Tan et al. Nat. Commun. 2019;10:983) in animals and humans provide converging evidence that gamma oscillations in the primary somatosensory cortex are closely and causally related to pain behavior and pain perception. These findings could help to identify brain-b...
Preprint
Full-text available
Chronic pain is a common and severely disabling disease whose treatment is often unsatisfactory. Insights into the brain mechanisms of chronic pain promise to advance the understanding of the underlying pathophysiology and might help to develop disease markers and novel treatments. Here, we systematically and comprehensively exploited the potential...
Article
Full-text available
Pain serves vital protective functions, which crucially depend on appropriate motor responses to noxious stimuli. Such responses not only depend on but can themselves shape the perception of pain. In chronic pain, perception is often decoupled from noxious stimuli and motor responses are no longer protective, which suggests that the relationships b...
Article
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Pain is a complex phenomenon involving perceptual, motor, and autonomic responses, but how the brain translates noxious stimuli into these different dimensions of pain is unclear. Here, we assessed perceptual, motor, and autonomic responses to brief noxious heat stimuli and recorded brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG) in humans. Multi...
Article
Full-text available
Chronic pain is a major health care issue characterized by ongoing pain and a variety of sensory, cognitive, and affective abnormalities. The neural basis of chronic pain is still not completely understood. Previous work has implicated prefrontal brain areas in chronic pain. Furthermore, prefrontal neuronal oscillations at gamma frequencies (60–90...
Article
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Chronic pain is the greatest source of disability globally and claims related to chronic pain feature in many insurance and medico-legal cases. Brain imaging (for example, functional MRI, PET, EEG and magnetoencephalography) is widely considered to have potential for diagnosis, prognostication, and prediction of treatment outcome in patients with c...
Article
The protective function of pain depends on appropriate motor responses to avoid injury and promote recovery. The preparation and execution of motor responses is thus an essential part of pain. However, it is not yet fully understood how pain and motor processes interact in the brain. Here we used electroencephalography to investigate the effects of...
Article
Pain serves the protection of the body by translating noxious stimulus information into a subjective percept and protective responses. Such protective responses rely on autonomic responses which allocate energy resources to protective functions. However, the precise relationship between objective stimulus intensity, subjective pain intensity, auton...
Article
Full-text available
The success of medical treatment, especially for subjectively evaluated conditions such as pain, is usually influenced by a patienttextquoterights expectations. In particular, patients who have been exposed to unsuccessful treatment attempts in the past often do not respond as strongly to subsequent treatments. To assess whether a change in drug ro...
Article
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Pain serves vital protective functions. To fulfill these functions, a noxious stimulus might induce a percept which, in turn, induces a behavioral response. Here, we investigated an alternative view in which behavioral responses do not exclusively depend on but themselves shape perception. We tested this hypothesis in an experiment in which healthy...
Article
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Noxious stimuli induce physiological processes which commonly translate into pain. However, under certain conditions, pain intensity can substantially dissociate from stimulus intensity, e.g. during longer-lasting pain in chronic pain syndromes. How stimulus intensity and pain intensity are differentially represented in the human brain is, however,...
Article
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Trends Pain is a vital phenomenon that depends on the dynamic integration of sensory and contextual processes. In chronic pain the adaptive integration of sensory and contextual processes is severely disturbed. Neuronal oscillations and synchrony at different frequencies provide evidence on information flow across brain areas. The flexible relation...
Article
This case report describes a woman in her early 40s with fluctuating neck pain in whom imaging revealed spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leakage with engorgement of venous plexus.A woman in her early 40s presented to the emergency department with a 2-month history of fluctuating neck pain. Neurologic examination findings were unremarkable. Cerebral...
Article
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Directionality of signaling among brain regions provides essential information about human cognition and disease states. Assessing such effective connectivity (EC) across brain states using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) alone has proven difficult, however. We propose a novel measure of EC, termed metabolic connectivity mapping (MCM),...
Article
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Background: Pain is considered a frequent symptom in multiple sclerosis. Neuropathic pain is the type of pain most closely related to the pathology of multiple sclerosis and its prevalence estimates vary largely. Objective: We prospectively assessed the prevalence of neuropathic pain in patients with early multiple sclerosis and investigated the...
Article
Tinnitus and chronic pain are sensory–perceptual disorders associated with negative affect and high impact on well-being and behavior. It is now becoming increasingly clear that higher cognitive and affective brain systems are centrally involved in the pathology of both disorders. We propose that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the nucleus a...
Article
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An unexpectedly extensive recruitment of B cells and plasma blasts to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in a patient with Toscana virus (TOSV) encephalitis is described. Acute infection by TOSV was demonstrated by serological methods and by detection of TOSV-specific nucleic acid in the CSF by real-time polymerase chain reaction and sequencing.
Article
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Under physiological conditions, momentary pain serves vital protective functions. Ongoing pain in chronic pain states, on the other hand, is a pathological condition that causes widespread suffering and whose treatment remains unsatisfactory. The brain mechanisms of ongoing pain are largely unknown. In this study, we applied tonic painful heat stim...
Article
The subjective experience of pain is affected by various modulating factors, such as the sufferer's level of anxiety or distraction. A recent study sheds light on the neural underpinnings of pain modulation and illustrates how we can advance towards an integrated psychological, neurobiological and clinical taxonomy of pain modulations. Copyright ©...
Article
The perception of pain is highly variable. It depends on bottom-up-mediated factors like stimulus intensity and top-down-mediated factors like expectations. In the brain, pain is associated with a complex pattern of neuronal responses including evoked potentials and induced responses at alpha and gamma frequencies. Although they all covary with sti...
Article
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The down-regulation of pain through beliefs is commonly discussed as a form of emotion regulation. In line with this interpretation, the analgesic effect has been shown to co-occur with reduced anxiety and increased activity in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), which is a key region of emotion regulation. This link between pain and anxie...
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It is increasingly recognized that the efficacy of medical treatments is determined in critical part by the therapeutic context in which it is delivered. An important characteristic of that context is treatment history. We recently reported first evidence for a carry-over of treatment experience to subsequent treatment response across different tre...
Article
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Pain is a multidimensional experience, which includes sensory, cognitive, and affective aspects. Converging lines of evidence indicate that dopaminergic neurotransmission plays an important role in human pain perception. However, the precise effects of dopamine on different aspects of pain perception remain to be elucidated. To address this questio...
Conference Paper
Background / Purpose: The perception of pain does not linearly reflect nociceptive input, but essentially depends on contextual parameters, e.g. expectations. In the brain, painful stimuli yield different neuronal responses, which provide complementary information about the subjective pain percept.Here, we investigated how neuronal theta (3-8 Hz)...
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Therapeutic context can critically determine treatment outcome.1 Prior experience with a treatment is an important contextual factor that has been shown to modulate treatment efficacy.2,3 To date, this influence of prior treatment experience has been studied only within the same treatment approach. However, in clinical practice, treatments are ofte...
Article
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Cannabis is reported to be remarkably effective for the relief of otherwise intractable pain. However, the bases for pain relief afforded by this psychotropic agent are debatable. Nonetheless, the frontal-limbic distribution of cannabinoid receptors in the brain suggests that cannabis may target preferentially the affective qualities of pain. This...
Article
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Pain is known to comprise sensory, cognitive, and affective aspects. Despite numerous previous fMRI studies, however, it remains open which spatial distribution of activity is sufficient to encode whether a stimulus is perceived as painful or not. In this study, we analyzed fMRI data from a perceptual decision-making task in which participants were...
Article
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Pain signals threat and initiates motor responses to avoid harm. The transformation of pain into a motor response is thus an essential part of pain. Here, we investigated the neural mechanisms subserving the sensorimotor transformation of pain at the cortical level by using electroencephalography. In a simple reaction time experiment, brief painful...
Article
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Painful stimuli are of utmost behavioral relevance and thereby affect attentional resources. In health, variable effects of pain on attention have been observed, indicating alerting as well as distracting effects of pain. In the human brain, these effects are closely related to modulations of neuronal gamma oscillations. As hypervigilance as an abn...
Article
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Timing in the range of seconds referred to as interval timing is crucial for cognitive operations and conscious time processing. According to recent models of interval timing basal ganglia (BG) oscillatory loops are involved in time interval recognition. Parkinsońs disease (PD) is a typical disease of the basal ganglia that shows distortions in int...
Article
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The perception of pain is characterized by its tremendous intra- and interindividual variability. Different individuals perceive the very same painful event largely differently. Here, we aimed to predict the individual pain sensitivity from brain activity. We repeatedly applied identical painful stimuli to healthy human subjects and recorded brain...
Article
The perception of pain can be significantly modulated by the behavioral context. Here, we investigated how contextual modulations of pain are subserved in the human brain. We independently modulated the attentional and emotional context of painful stimuli and recorded brain activity by using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Our results confir...
Article
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Perception is not a simple reflection of sensory information but varies within and between individuals. This applies particularly to the perception of pain, which, in the brain, is associated with neuronal responses at different frequencies. Here, we show how these different neuronal responses subserve interindividual and intraindividual variations...
Article
Evidence from behavioral and self-reported data suggests that the patients' beliefs and expectations can shape both therapeutic and adverse effects of any given drug. We investigated how divergent expectancies alter the analgesic efficacy of a potent opioid in healthy volunteers by using brain imaging. The effect of a fixed concentration of the μ-o...
Article
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In healthy subjects repeated tactile stimulation in a conditioning test stimulation paradigm yields attenuation of primary (S1) and secondary (S2) somatosensory cortical activation, whereas a preceding painful stimulus results in facilitation. Since previous data suggest that cognitive processes might affect somatosensory processing in S1, the pres...
Article
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The decision as to whether a sensation is perceived as painful does not only depend on sensory input but also on the significance of the stimulus. Here, we show that the degree to which an impending stimulus is interpreted as threatening biases perceptual decisions about pain and that this bias toward pain manifests before stimulus encounter. Using...