A Systematic Review of the Neurobiological Effects of Theta-Burst Stimulation (TBS) as Measured Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). [Review]

SOURCE: Brain Structure & Function. 228(3-4):717-749, 2023 May.

AUTHORS: Kirkovski M; Donaldson PH; Do M; Speranza BE; Albein-Urios N; Oberman LM; Enticott PG

ABSTRACT: Theta burst stimulation (TBS) is associated with the modulation of a range of clinical, cognitive, and behavioural outcomes, but specific neurobiological effects remain somewhat unclear. This systematic literature review investigated resting-state and task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) outcomes post-TBS in healthy human adults. Fifty studies that applied either continuous-or intermittent-(c/i) TBS, and adopted a pretest-posttest or sham-controlled design, were included. For resting-state outcomes following stimulation applied to motor, temporal, parietal, occipital, or cerebellar regions, functional connectivity generally decreased in response to cTBS and increased in response to iTBS, though there were some exceptions to this pattern of response. These findings are mostly consistent with the assumed long-term depression (LTD)/long-term potentiation (LTP)-like plasticity effects of cTBS and iTBS, respectively. Task-related outcomes following TBS were more variable. TBS applied to the prefrontal cortex, irrespective of task or state, also produced more variable responses, with no consistent patterns emerging. Individual participant and methodological factors are likely to contribute to the variability in responses to TBS. Future studies assessing the effects of TBS via fMRI must account for factors known to affect the TBS outcomes, both at the level of individual participants and of research methodology.

LINK TO FULL ARTICLE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10113132/