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Meissner, K.* ; Lutter, D. ; von Toerne, C. ; Haile, A.* ; Woods, S.C.* ; Hoffmann, V.* ; Ohmayer, U. ; Hauck, S.M. ; Tschöp, M.H.

Molecular classification of the placebo effect in nausea.

PLoS ONE 15:e0238533 (2020)
Publ. Version/Full Text Research data DOI
Open Access Gold
Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag
In this proof-of-concept study, we tested whether placebo effects can be monitored and predicted by plasma proteins. In a randomized controlled design, 90 participants were exposed to a nauseating stimulus on two separate days and were randomly allocated to placebo treatment or no treatment on the second day. Significant placebo effects on nausea, motion sickness, and (in females) gastric activity could be verified. Using label-free tandem mass spectrometry, 74 differentially regulated proteins were identified as correlates of the placebo effect. Gene ontology (GO) enrichment analyses identified acute-phase proteins and microinflammatory proteins to be involved, and the identified GO signatures predicted day-adjusted scores of nausea indices in the placebo group. We also performed GO enrichment analyses of specific plasma proteins predictable by the experimental factors or their interactions and identified 'grooming behavior' as a prominent hit. Finally, Receiver Operator Characteristics (ROC) allowed to identify plasma proteins differentiating placebo responders from non-responders, comprising immunoglobulins and proteins involved in oxidation reduction processes and complement activation. Plasma proteomics is a promising tool to identify molecular correlates and predictors of the placebo effect in humans.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Complement Activation; Psychological Stress; Oxidative Stress; Motion Sickness; Acupuncture; Analgesia; Oxytocin; Vasopressin; Fibrinogen; Responses
ISSN (print) / ISBN 1932-6203
Journal PLoS ONE
Quellenangaben Volume: 15, Issue: 9, Pages: , Article Number: e0238533 Supplement: ,
Publisher Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Publishing Place Lawrence, Kan.
Reviewing status Peer reviewed
Grants ME3675/1-1
DFG Research Unit, German Research Foundation