Increased Anxiety After Stimulation of the Right Inferior Parietal Lobe and the Left Orbitofrontal Cortex

Grieder, Matthias; Homan, Philipp; Federspiel, Andrea; Kiefer, Claus; Hasler, Gregor (2020). Increased Anxiety After Stimulation of the Right Inferior Parietal Lobe and the Left Orbitofrontal Cortex. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11(375), p. 375. Frontiers 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00375

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Sustained anxiety is a key symptom of anxiety disorders and may be associated with neural activation in the right inferior parietal lobe (rIPL), particularly under unpredictable threat. This finding suggests a moderating role of the rIPL in sustained anxiety, which we tested in the current study. We applied cathodal or sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to the rIPL as a symptom provocation method in 22 healthy participants in a randomized, double-blind, crossover study, prior to two recordings of cerebral blood flow (CBF). In between, we applied a threat-of-shock paradigm with three conditions: unpredictable (U), predictable (P), or no electric shocks (N). We hypothesized increased anxiety under U, but not under P or N. Furthermore, we expected reduced CBF in the rIPL after tDCS compared to sham. As predicted, anxiety was higher in the U than the P and N conditions, and active tDCS augmented this effect. While tDCS did not alter CBF in the rIPL, it did attenuate the observed increase in brain regions that typically increase activation as a response to anxiety. These findings suggest that the rIPL moderates sustained anxiety as a gateway to brain regions crucial in anxiety. Alternatively, anodal tDCS over the left orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC) may have increased anxiety through disruption of OFC-amygdala interactions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Grieder, Matthias; Homan, Philipp; Federspiel, Andrea; Kiefer, Claus and Hasler, Gregor


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health






[UNSPECIFIED] Universität Bern




Matthias Grieder

Date Deposited:

10 Jun 2020 15:21

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2021 15:40

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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