Leif Oltedal


Associate Professor



As a neuroscientist I am particularly interested in the neurobiological mechanisms of major depressive disorders and their treatment with various forms of neurostimulation therapies

Leif Oltedal is a consultant neuroradiologist (50%) at Haukeland University Hospital and associate professor (50%) at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen (UiB) in Norway. He  is affiliated to the Mohn Medical Imanging and Visualization Centre (MMIV) .

I lead the Neurostimulation and Brain imaging research group at the Department of Clinical Medicine in Bergen and research projects on electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) at MMIV. I am also the leader of the Global ECT-MRI Research Collaboration (GEMRIC), which is a network of researchers who use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the effects of ECT on the brain.

My research interests concern the structure and functioning of the human brain and spans from basic neuroscience disciplines such as anatomy and patch-clamp electrophysiology to clinical oriented research with neuroimaging in psychiatry and radiology. I am particularly interested in the mechanisms underlying mental disorders and how neurostimulation can be used as an effective therapeutic option. In radiology I am also involved in the development of novel MRI techniques for precision diagnostics or brain tumors (gliomas).  

For an overview of recent publications, please see Google Scholar:





Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


Selected publications

  • Blanken MAJT, Oudega ML, Hoogendoorn AW, Sonnenberg CS, Rhebergen D, Klumpers UMH, Van Diermen L, Birkenhager T, Schrijvers D, Redlich R, Dannlowski U, Heindel W, Coenjaerts M, Nordanskog P, Oltedal L, Kessler U, Frid LM, Takamiya A, Kishimoto T, Jorgensen MB, Jorgensen A, Bolwig T, Emsell L, Sienaert P, Bouckaert F, Abbott CC, Péran P, Arbus C, Yrondi A, Kiebs M, Philipsen A, van Waarde JA, Prinsen E, van Verseveld M, Van Wingen G , ten Doesschate F, Camprodon JA ,Kritzer M, Barbour T, Argyelan M, Cardoner N, Urretavizcaya M, Soriano-Mas C, Narr KL, Espinoza RT, Prudic J, Rowny S, van Eijndhoven P, Tendolkar I, Dols A. (2023) Sex-specifics of ECT outcome. J. Affect. Disord.

  • van de Mortel LA, Bruin WB, Thomas RM, Abbott C, Argyelan M, van Eijndhoven P, Mulders P, Narr K, Tendolkar I, Verdijk JPAJ, van Waarde JA, Bartsch H, Oltedal L, van Wingen GA. Multimodal multi-center analysis of electroconvulsive therapy effects: brainwide gray matter increase without functional changes. (2022) Brain stimulation.

  • Takamiya A, Dols A, Emsell L, Abbott C, Yrondi A, Soriano Mas C, Jorgensen MB, Nordanskog P, Rhebergen D, van Exel E, Oudega ML, Bouckaert F, Vandenbulcke M, Sienaert P, Péran P, Cano M, Cardoner N, Jorgensen A, Paulson OB, Hamilton P, Kampe R, Bruin W, Bartsch H, Ousdal OT, Kessler U, van Wingen G, Oltedal L, Kishimoto T. (2022) Neural substrates of late-life psychotic depression: Findings from the Global ECT-MRI Research Collaboration. Schizophrenia Bulletin.

  • Brancati GE, Brekke N, Bartsch H, Evjenth Sørhaug OJ, Ousdal OT, Hammar Å, Schuster PM, Oedegaard KJ, Kessler U and Oltedal L (2021). Short and long-term effects of single and multiple sessions of electroconvulsive therapy on brain gray matter volumes. Brain stimulation.

  • Ousdal OT, Brancatei GE, Kessler U, Erchinger V, Dale AM, Abbott C & Oltedal L (2021). The neurobiological effects of electroconvulsive therapy studied through magnetic resonance – what have we learnt and where do we go?  Biological Psychiatry.

  • Erchinger VJ, Ersland L, Aukland SA, Abbott CC and Oltedal L (2021). Magnetic resonance spectroscopy in depressed subjects treated with electroconvulsive therapy – a systematic review of literature. Frontiers in Psychiatry 

  • Erchinger VJ, Miller J, Jones T, Kessler U, Bustillo J, Haavik J, Petrillo J, Ziomek G, Hammar Å, Oedegaard KJ, Calhoun VD, McClintock SM,Ersland L, Oltedal L, Abbott CC (2020). Anterior cingulate gamma-aminobutyric acid concentrations and electroconvulsive therapy. Brain and Behavior 

  • Ousdal OT, Gjestad R and Oltedal L (2020). Reply to: Clinical Relevance of Brain Changes After Electroconvulsive Therapy: Is There Really No Link at All? Biol Psychiatry

  • Mulders PCR, Llera S, Beckmann CF, […] , Oltedal L, […] , Abbott CC, van Eijndhoven PFE and Tendolkar I. Structural changes induced by electroconvulsive therapy are associated with clinical outcome. (2020). Brain Stimulation

  • Argyelan M, Oltedal L, Deng ZD, Wade B [GEMRIC] & Abbott CC. Electrical field cause volumetric changes in the human brain. (2019). eLife

  • Ousdal OT, [GEMRIC] and Oltedal L. (2019). Brain changes induced by electroconvulsive therapy are broadly distributed. Biological Psychiatry

  • Malmei Aarsland TI, Leskauskaite I, Midttun Ø, Ulvik A, Ueland PM, Oltedal L, Erchinger VJ, Oedegaard KJ, Haavik J, Kessler U. (2019). The effect of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) on serum tryptophan metabolites.  Brain Stimulation

  • Karunamuni RA, White NS, Fromm A, Moen G, Grüner ER, Dale AM & Oltedal L. (2019). Improved characterization of cerebral infarction using combined tissue T2 and high b-value diffusion MRI in post-thrombectomy patients – a feasibility study. Acta Radiologica

  • Gewin V. & Oltedal L. (2018). Formalize agreements. Nature (Interview)

  • Oltedal L, Narr KL, Abbott C, Anand A, [GEMRIC], Vandenbulcke M, Oedegaard KJ, Dale AM. (2018). Volume of the human hippocampus and clinical response following electroconvulsive therapy. Biological Psychiatry

  • Oltedal L, Bartsch H, Sorhaug OJE, [...], Dale AM & Oedegaard KJ. (2017). The Global ECT-MRI Research Collaboration (GEMRIC): Establishing a multi-site investigation of the neural mechanisms underlying response to electroconvulsive therapy. Neuroimage: Clinical

  • Sirnes E, Oltedal L, Bartsch H, Eide GE, Elgen IB & Aukland SM. (2017). Brain morphology in school-aged children with prenatal opioid exposure: A structural MRI study. Early Hum Dev

  • Oltedal L & Hugdahl K. (2016). Opposite brain laterality in analogous auditory and visual tests. Laterality

  • Oltedal L, Kessler U, Ersland L, Grüner R, Andreassen OA, Haavik J, Hoff PI, Hammar Å, Dale AM, Hugdahl K and Oedegaard KJ. (2015). Effects of ECT in treatment of depression: Study protocol for a prospective neuroradiological study of acute and longitudinal effects on brain structure and function. BMC Psychiatry

  • Oltedal L & Hartveit E. (2010). Transient release kinetics of rod bipolar cells revealed by capacitance measurement of exocytosis from axon terminals in rat retinal slices. J Physiol

  • Veruki ML, Oltedal L & Hartveit E. (2010). Electrical coupling and passive membrane properties of AII amacrine cells. J Neurophysiol 

  • Oltedal L, Veruki ML & Hartveit E. (2009). Passive membrane properties and electrotonic signal processing in retinal rod bipolar cells. J Physiol 

  • Veruki ML, Oltedal L & Hartveit E. (2008). Electrical synapses between AII amacrine cells: dynamic range and functional consequences of variation in junctional conductance. J Neurophysiol 

  • Oltedal L, Haglerød C, Furmanek T & Davanger S. (2008). Vesicular release of glutamate from hippocampal neurons in culture: An immunocytochemical assay. Exp Brain Res

  • Oltedal L, Mørkve SH, Veruki ML & Hartveit E. (2007). Patch-clamp investigations and compartmental modeling of rod bipolar axon terminals in an in vitro thin-slice preparation of the mammalian retina. J Neurophysiol

  • Hasegawa H, Yang Z, Oltedal L, Davanger S & Hay JC. (2004). Intramolecular protein-protein and protein-lipid interactions control the conformation and subcellular targeting of neuronal Ykt6. J Cell Sci

  • Vik-Mo EO, Oltedal L, Hoivik EA, Kleivdal H, Eidet J & Davanger S. (2003). Sec6 is localized to the plasma membrane of mature synaptic terminals and is transported with secretogranin II-containing vesicles. Neuroscience

For complete publications list, see below


Academic article
Academic literature review
Article in business/trade/industry journal
Letter to the editor
Interview Journal
Academic lecture

See a complete overview of publications in Cristin.


I lead the Neurostimulation and brain imaging research group and the following ongoing studies

1) The Global ECT-MRI Research Collaboration (GEMRIC

- The GEMRIC was established in 2015 and defined as a Global network for determining the mechanisms of action of Electroconvulsive Therapy using Magnetic Resonance Imaging through Collaboration. The collaboration is coordinated by Dr. Leif Oltedal, and the   common data repository is located at the University of Bergen. 

2) ECT and Neuroradiology (ECTMRI)

- Electroconvulsive therapy, acute and longitudinal effects https://mmiv.no/ect/. Studied by MRI (Structural, diffusion (RSI), MR spectroscopy (including Glutamate and GABA)); Neuropsychological tests and blood samples. See protocol paper here. Web page in Norwegian here.

3) Neurobiological mechanism of ECT and rTMS treatment (FundECT). An observational study which includes patients with moderate and severe depression who receive electroconvulsive therapy or repetetive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation at Haukeland Univeristy Hospital.   


In addition to the above projects I am involed in a number of ongoing studies in Neuroradiology and Psychiatry. 



Previous projects

RSI in neuroradiological imaging

- Restriction Spectrum Imaging (RSI) to characterize diffusion signal in cerebral infarction. Restricted versus hindered diffusion.