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Psychopharmacology

, Volume 234, Issue 1, pp 53–62 | Cite as

Electro-physiological changes in the brain induced by caffeine or glucose nasal spray

  • K De Pauw
  • B Roelands
  • J Van Cutsem
  • U Marusic
  • T Torbeyns
  • R MeeusenEmail author
Original Investigation

Abstract

Objective

A direct link between the mouth cavity and the brain for glucose (GLUC) and caffeine (CAF) has been established. The aim of this study is to determine whether a direct link for both substrates also exist between the nasal cavity and the brain.

Methods

Ten healthy male subjects (age 22 ± 1 years) performed three experimental trials, separated by at least 2 days. Each trial included a 20-s nasal spray (NAS) period in which solutions placebo (PLAC), GLUC, or CAF were provided in a double-blind, randomized order. During each trial, four cognitive Stroop tasks were performed: two familiarization trials and one pre- and one post-NAS trial. Reaction times and accuracy for different stimuli (neutral, NEUTR; congruent, CON; incongruent INCON) were determined. Electroencephalography was continuously measured throughout the trials. During the Stroop tasks pre- and post-NAS, the P300 was assessed and during NAS, source localization was performed using standardized low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA).

Results and discussion

NAS activated the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). CAF-NAS also increased θ and β activity in frontal cortices. Furthermore, GLUC-NAS increased the β activity within the insula. GLUC-NAS also increased the P300 amplitude with INCON (P = 0.046) and reduced P300 amplitude at F3-F4 and P300 latency at CP1-CP2-Cz with NEUTR (P = 0.001 and P = 0.016, respectively). The existence of nasal bitter and sweet taste receptors possibly induce these brain responses.

Conclusion

Greater cognitive efficiency was observed with GLUC-NAS. CAF-NAS activated cingulate, insular, and sensorymotor cortices, whereas GLUC-NAS activated sensory, cingulate, and insular cortices. However, no effect on the Stroop task was found.

Keywords

EEG Stroop Attention ERP P300 Source localization sLORETA 

Notes

Acknowledgments

BR is a postdoctoral fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO).

Compliance with ethical standards

The experiment was approved by the institutional medical ethical committee of UZ Brussel and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) (B.U.N. 143201421380). The subjects were provided written and oral information about the experimental procedures and potential risks before giving informed consent to participate in this study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • K De Pauw
    • 1
  • B Roelands
    • 1
    • 2
  • J Van Cutsem
    • 1
  • U Marusic
    • 3
  • T Torbeyns
    • 1
  • R Meeusen
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Research Group Human Physiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Physical TherapyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO)BrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Institute for Kinesiology Research, Science and Research Centre of KoperUniversity of PrimorskaKoperSlovenia
  4. 4.School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsville CityAustralia

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