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Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for depressive-like symptoms in rodent animal models.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) emerged as a non-invasive brain stimulation technique in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Both preclinical and clinical studies as well as systematic reviews provide a heterogeneous picture, particularly concerning the stimulation protocols used in rTMS. Here, we present a review of rTMS effects in rodent models of depressive-like symptoms with the aim to identify the most relevant factors that lead to an increased therapeutic success. The influence of different factors, such as the stimulation parameters (stimulus frequency and intensity, duration of stimulation, shape and positioning of the coil), symptom severity and individual characteristics (age, species and genetic background of the rodents), on the therapeutic success are discussed. Accumulating evidence indicates that rTMS ameliorates a multitude of depressive-like symptoms in rodent models, most effectively at high stimulation frequencies (≥5Hz) especially in adult rodents with a pronounced pathological phenotype. The therapeutic success of rTMS might be increased in the future by considering these factors and using more standardized stimulation protocols.

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