Individual perception of pain is a critical factor for millions of patients with irritable bowel syndrome. © kei907/stock.adobe.com

Individual perception of pain is a critical factor for millions of patients with irritable bowel syndrome. © kei907/stock.adobe.com

How does our brain influence visceral pain?

How do patients with irritable bowel syndrome perceive signals from the bowel and visceral pain compared to somatic pain? And how is this influenced by psychological factors, particularly negative expectations? These are important research questions, the answers to which could also be helpful for other chronic pain syndromes.

Research summary

Effects of negative expectations on visceroception and visceral pain

This project investigates the effect of negative expectations on visceroception and visceral pain in healthy participants and patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as well as the extent to which these effects apply to another pain modality (somatic pain). Using an established, clinically relevant tonic pain model to deliver translational research, it will focus on the modulating role of stress and affective comorbidity, as these are factors that characterise patients with IBS and other chronic pain disorders.

Recommended reading:

Benson S, Siebert C, Koenen LR, Engler H, Kleine-Borgmann J, Bingel U, Icenhour A, Elsenbruch S (2019) Cortisol affects pain sensitivity and pain-related emotional learning in experimental visceral but not somatic pain: A randomized-controlled study in healthy men and women. Pain 160(8):1719-1728. PubMed

Elsenbruch S, Rosenberger C, Enck P, Forsting M, Schedlowski M, Gizewski ER (2010) Affective disturbances modulate the neural processing of visceral pain stimuli in irritable bowel syndrome: an fMRI study. Gut 59:489-95. PubMed

Elsenbruch S, Rosenberger C, Bingel U, Forsting M, Schedlowski M, Gizewski ER (2010) Altered emotional modulation of the neural response to visceral stimuli in irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology 139:1310-1319. PubMed

Schmid J, Theysohn N, Gaß F, Benson S, Gramsch C, Forsting M, Gizewski ER, Elsenbruch S (2013) Neural mechanisms mediating positive and negative treatment expectations in visceral pain: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study on placebo and nocebo effects in healthy volunteers. Pain 154:2372-2380. PubMed

In close cooperation with these projects

A01

A01

A02

A02

A06

A06

A08

A08

Do positive expectations improve the effect of antidepressants?

Prof. Dr. Tilo Kircher
PD Dr. Irina Falkenberg

A12

A12

A13

A13

A15

A15

Does anxiety intensify the discontinuation symptoms of antidepressants?

Prof. Dr. Yvonne Nestoriuc
Prof. Dr. Tilo Kircher

A16

A16

Project Lead

Prof. Dr. Sigrid Elsenbruch

Prof. Dr. Sigrid Elsenbruch
Psychologist

Team

Dr. Laura Ricarda Koenen
Postdoc, Psychologist

Dr. Rossitza Draganova
Postdoc

Dr. Jana Aulenkamp
Clinician Scientist

Leonie Höll
Medial student, Paramedic

Zoé Brüx
Medical student