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Induction of Interhemispheric Facilitation by Short Bursts of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation.

Neuroscience Letters 2023 March 14
Interhemispheric facilitation (IHF) describes potentiation of motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over primary motor cortex (M1), when they are preceded (3-6 ms) by conditioning TMS below motor threshold (MT) delivered over the opposite M1. This effect is however obtained only when the conditioning stimulation is sufficiently circumscribed. In paired associative protocols, (500 ms) bursts of 140 Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) interact with the state of neural circuits in the opposite hemisphere in a similar manner to sub-threshold TMS. We hypothesised that tACS applied over M1 would elevate the amplitudes of MEPs elicited by suprathreshold TMS applied 6 ms later over the opposite M1. Thirty healthy right-handed participants were tested. In a control condition, MEPs were recorded in right flexor carpi radialis (rFCR) following 120% resting MT TMS over left M1. In 11 experimental conditions, 1mA (peak-to-peak) 140 Hz (30, 100, 500 ms) or 670 Hz (6, 12, 100, 500 ms) tACS, or 100-640 Hz (6, 12, 100, 500 ms) transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS), was delivered over right M1, 6 ms in advance of the TMS. IHF was obtained by conditioning with 30 ms (but not 100 or 500 ms) 140 Hz tACS. The magnitude of IHF (12% increase; d = 0.56 (0.21-0.98)) was within the range reported for dual-coil TMS studies. Conditioning by 670 Hz tACS or tRNS had no effect. Our findings indicate that short bursts of 140 Hz tACS, applied over M1, have distributed effects similar to those of subthreshold TMS.

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