Loudness Dependence of Auditory-evoked Potentials, a Marker of Central Serotonergic Activity, is Affected by Fasting and Selective Uptake of Food

Christoph Bamberg*, Vera Flasbeck, Georg Juckel, Martin Brüne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Serotonin is an important neuromodulator involved in many physiological processes including mood and satiety. In the brain, serotonin is manufactured from tryptophan, as serotonin itself cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. Previous research has shown that blood-tryptophan levels increase upon ingestion of carbohydrates and decrease upon protein consumption. How this translates into serotonin availability is as yet under-researched. Therefore, we examined the effect of fasting versus consuming carbohydrates or protein on central serotonergic activity using a repeated-measures crossover design in a sample of 37 healthy men. The loudness dependence of auditory-evoked potentials (LDAEP) serves as a noninvasive method to study central serotonergic activity. Blood-glucose levels and mood changes were also monitored before and after the nutritional intervention. The intervention had a significant nutrition-specific effect on LDAEP and blood-glucose levels. A significant difference emerged between the fasting condition and satiety, with LDAEP being lower during satiety, irrespective of the type of food. Thus, this indicator of serotonergic activity increased after food consumption, which was further related to mood improvement. Moreover, the LDAEP differed between the 2 measurements only for the carbohydrate testing day, suggesting that LDAEP can be selectively modulated by the type of nutrition consumed. Our data further indicate a high intraindividual stability of LDAEP, as the electrophysiological signals were very similar in the fasting condition across the 2 testing days. Together, these findings demonstrate that the LDAEP can serve as a biological marker for central serotonergic activity, while at the same time being sensitive to nutritional changes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15500594211000925
Pages (from-to)391-399
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Eeg and Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Biomarkers
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory
  • Fasting
  • Humans
  • Loudness Perception
  • Male
  • ERP
  • retest reliability
  • test&#8211
  • fasting
  • serotonin
  • nutrition

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