Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Immunobiology
+49 201 723 4501

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Research focus

Our research projects focus on the analyses of the bidirectional communication among the CNS, the endocrine system and the immune system. Against this background we are analyzing the mechanisms and potential clinical relevance of behavioral conditioning of immune functions in experimental animals, healthy humans and patients as part of a learned placebo response in immune functions. In addition, we focus on the effects of peripheral inflammatory processes on neurocognitive functions, mood and behavior in particular to understand the role of peripheral cytokines in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.


Tremellen K, McPhee N, Pearce K, Benson S, Schedlowski M, Engler H.
Endotoxin-initiated inflammation reduces testosterone production in men of reproductive age.
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2018;314:E206-E213.

Kirchhof J, Petrakova L, Brinkhoff A, Benson S, Schmidt J, Unteroberdörster M, Wilde B, Kaptchuk TJ, Witzke O, Schedlowski M.
Learned immunosuppressive placebo responses in renal transplant patients.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018;115:4223-4227.

Hadamitzky M, Sondermann W, Benson S, Schedlowski M.
Placebo Effects in the Immune System.
Int Rev Neurobiol. 2018;138:39-59.

Engler H, Brendt P, Wischermann J, Wegner A, Röhling R, Schoemberg T, Meyer U, Gold R, Peters J, Benson S, Schedlowski M.

Selective increase of cerebrospinal fluid IL-6 during experimental systemic inflammation in humans: association with depressive symptoms.
Mol Psychiatry. 2017;22(10):1448-1454

Hadamitzky M, Bösche K, Wirth T, Buck B, Beetz O, Christians U, Schniedewind B, Lückemann L, Güntürkün O, Engler H, Schedlowski M.
Memory-updating abrogates extinction of learned immunosuppression.
Brain Behav Immun. 2016;52:40-8.

Schedlowski M, Enck P, Rief W, Bingel U.
Neuro-Bio-Behavioral Mechanisms of Placebo and Nocebo Responses: Implications for Clinical Trials and Clinical Practice.
Pharmacol Rev. 2015; 697-730.

Albring A, Wendt L, Benson S, Nissen S, Yavuz Z, Engler H, Witzke O, Schedlowski M.
Preserving learned immunosuppressive placebo response: Perspectives for clinical application.
Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2014;96:247-55.

Schedlowski M, Engler H, Grigoleit JS.
Endotoxin-induced experimental systemic inflammation in humans: a model to disentangle immune-to-brain communication.
Brain Behav Immun. 2014;35:1-8.

Giovanoli S, Engler H, Engler A, Richetto J, Voget M, Willi R, Winter C, Riva MA, MortensenPB, Schedlowski M, Meyer U.
Stress in puberty unmasks latent neuropathological consequences of prenatal immune activation in mice.
Science. 2013;339:1095-9.

Enck P, Bingel U, Schedlowski M, Rief W.
The placebo reponse in medicine: minimize, maximize or personalize.
Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2013;12:191-204.

Research projects

Placebo effects in the immune functions; The role of learning processes and conditioning

Inflammation, sickness behavior and depression

Animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders

Neuroendocrine regulation of immune responses

Effects of immune-modulating drugs on brain and behavior


Schedlowski Manfred, Prof. Dr.
Engler Harald, Prof. Dr.
Hadamitzky Martin, Dr. rer. nat.
Hetze Susann, Dr. med.
Hörbelt Tina, Dr. rer. nat.
Lückemann Laura, Dr. rer. nat.
Kahl Anna Lena, Dr. rer. medic.
Petrakova Liubov, Dr. rer. medic.
Brinkhoff Alexandra, Dr. med., Ifores Stipendiatin
Vogelsang Magdalene, Dipl.-Biol.
Kornowski Alexandra, MTA