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Clinical Trial Summary

Severe traumatic experiences such as falling victim to assault, torture, or rape have deleterious effects. Clinical manifestations include intrusions, avoidance behavior, and hyperarousal, which are associated, at a circuit level, with hyperfunction of the amygdala and hypofunction of prefrontal cortex (PFC) subregions. In up to 50 % of the cases, resilience is not sufficient and trauma-exposed individuals develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Oxytocin (OXT) is a hypothalamic peptide hormone that exerts anxiolytic effects. Recent clinical trials provide preliminary evidence that post-trauma administration of OXT could be effective as a preventive intervention for PTSD in a subsample of individuals exhibiting early PTSD symptoms prior to the onset of the disorder. However, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms are unclear. Therefore, the rationale of the present project is to expose a sample of healthy participants to experimental trauma in order to explore the circuit mechanisms by which OXT influences, and interferes with, traumatic experience. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) will be employed in order to elucidate the long-term effects of intranasal OXT on trauma-induced intrusions, amygdala and PFC responses during an emotional face matching task and resting state functional connectivity.

Clinical Trial Description

Participants will be exposed to an experimental trauma (i.e. a highly aversive movie) at days 1 and 4 of the study. After the first experimental trauma and after the first functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measurement, the participants will receive intranasal OXT or placebo in three different groups (1. OXT for six days, 2. OXT for three days and then placebo for three days, 3. placebo for six days). The same fMRI tasks will be used after the first and second trauma exposure (i.e. one measurement before the treatment and one measurement after three days of treatment). ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT03425929
Study type Interventional
Source University Hospital, Bonn
Status Completed
Phase Phase 1
Start date June 1, 2016
Completion date March 18, 2017

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