Effects of serotonin depletion and dopamine depletion on bimodal divided attention

W. Königschulte, C. Civai, P. Hildebrand, T. J. Gaber, G. R. Fink, F. D. Zepf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: This study aimed to explore the effects of acute phenylalanine tyrosine depletion (APTD) and acute tryptophan depletion (ATD) on bimodal divided attention. A balanced amino acid mixture (BAL) served as control condition. Methods: Fifty-three healthy adults (final analyzed sample was N = 49, age: M = 23.8 years) were randomly assigned to APTD, ATD or BAL in a double-blind, between-subject approach. Divided attention was assessed after 4 h. Blood samples were taken before and 6 h after challenge intake. Results: Amino acid concentrations following challenge intake significantly decreased (all P ≤ 0.01). There was a significant difference in the mean reaction time (RT) towards auditory stimuli, but not towards visual stimuli between the groups. Post-hoc comparison of mean RTs (auditory stimuli) showed a significant difference between ATD (RT = 604.0 ms, SD = 56.9 ms) and APTD (RT = 556.4 ms, SD = 54.2 ms; P = 0.037), but no RT difference between ATD and BAL or APTD and BAL (RT = 573.6 ms, SD = 45.7 ms). Conclusions: The results indicate a possible dissociation between the effects of a diminished brain 5-HT and DA synthesis on the performance in a bimodal divided attention task. The difference was exclusively observed within the RT towards auditory signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-194
Number of pages12
JournalWorld Journal of Biological Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2020

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