Improving Therapeutic Learning for PTSD

  • End date
    Dec 23, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
Updated on 23 March 2021


The proposed project seeks to demonstrate the engagement of post-exposure dopamine neurotransmission and downstream acute reorganization of dopaminergic resting-state neural networks as a means of increasing consolidation of extinction memories formed during analogue exposure therapy in adult women with PTSD. Participants will include 120 women aged 21-50 with a current diagnosis of PTSD related to physical or sexual assault, English speaking, and medically healthy. Participants will complete the stages of the study across 2-3 days, depending on participant need.


Specific Aim 1: Test the degree to which exogeneous manipulations of dopamine neurotransmission affect exposure therapy learning across multiple indices. Hypothesis: L-DOPA will decrease measures of fear responding across indices.

Specific Aim 2: Test the degree to which post-exposure functional connectivity within dopaminergic neural networks mediates the effect of dopaminergic manipulation on fear responding after exposure therapy. Hypothesis: L-DOPA will predict enhanced post-exposure dopaminergic functional connectivity, which in turn predicts decrease fear recall.

Condition Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, PTSD
Treatment Placebo, L-Dopa
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04558112
SponsorUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison
Last Modified on23 March 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Is your age between 21 yrs and 50 yrs?
Are you female?
Do you have any of these conditions: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders?
Do you have any of these conditions: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders or PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Do you have any of these conditions: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD?
Do you have any of these conditions: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders or PTSD?
Do you have any of these conditions: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders?
Current diagnosis of PTSD where the index traumatic event includes physical or sexual assault
English speaking
Medically healthy

Exclusion Criteria

internal ferromagnetic objects (such as electronic devices, surgical implants, shrapnel, etc.)
major medical disorders (such as cancer)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
psychotic disorders
neurocognitive disorders
developmental disorders
active substance use disorders
use of Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO-I) in past two weeks is exclusionary
Due to safety concerns, participants with these conditions will be ineligible
Claustrophobia, or the inability to lie still in a confined space
Major medical disorders (e.g., HIV, cancer)
Magnetic metallic implants (such as screws, pins, shrapnel remnants, aneurysm clips, artificial heart valves, inner ear (cochlear) implants, artificial joints, and vascular stents), as these may heat, pull, or twist in the strong magnetic field of the MRI scanner
Electronic or magnetic implants, such as pacemakers, as these may stop working
Permanent makeup or tattoos with metallic dyes
A positive pregnancy test (for females), since the effect of strong magnetic fields and L-Dopa on the developing fetus remains unknown and inconclusive. (all female participants of childbearing potential will have a pregnancy test on the day of the MRI scan. Participants who test positive would be notified of this positive result)
A self-reported history of loss of consciousness (greater than 30 minutes)
Physical disabilities that prohibit task performance (such as blindness or deafness)
Psychotic disorders (e.g., schizophrenia)
Any other condition that the investigator believes might put the participant at risk
Due to their effects on image quality, participants with the following MAY be
ineligible to participate per Principal Investigator's judgment
Medications which may affect image quality (e.g., water pills)
Nonremovable dental implants, such as braces or upper permanent retainers, as these will distort the MRI images we collect (note: filings, crowns, and silver or gold teeth are OK)
Any other condition, medication, or implant that the investigator believes would degrade image quality or render data unusable
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a site
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact


Phone Email

Please verify that you are not a bot.

Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note