Accelerated HF-rTMS Modifies SERT Availability in the Subgenual Anterior Cingulate Cortex: A Canine [11C]DASB Study on the Serotonergic System

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Medicine. 11(6) (no pagination), 2022. Article Number: 1531.


AUTHORS: Xu Y.; Kappen M.; Peremans K.; De Bundel D.; Van Eeckhaut A.; Van Laeken N.; De Vos F.; Dobbeleir A.; Saunders J.H.; Baeken C.

ABSTRACT: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is thought to partly exert its antidepressant action through the serotonergic system. Accelerated rTMS may have the potential to result in similar but faster onset of clinical improvement compared to the classical daily rTMS protocols, but given that delayed clinical responses have been reported, the neurobiological effects of accelerated paradigms remain to be elucidated including on this neurotransmitter system. This sham-controlled study aimed to evaluate the effects of accelerated high frequency rTMS (aHFrTMS) over the left frontal cortex on the serotonin transporter (SERT) in healthy beagle dogs. A total of twenty-two dogs were randomly divided into three unequal groups: five active stimulation sessions (five sessions
in one day, n = 10), 20 active stimulation sessions (five sessions/day for four days, n = 8), and 20 sham stimulation sessions (five sessions/day for four days, n = 4). The SERT binding index (BI) was obtained at baseline, 24 h post stimulation protocol, one month, and three months post stimulation by a [11C]DASB PET scan. It was found that one day of active aHF-rTMS (five sessions) did not result in significant SERT BI changes at any time point. For the 20 sessions of active aHF-rTMS, one month after stimulation the SERT BI attenuated in the sgACC. No significant SERT BI changes were found after 20 sessions of sham aHF-rTMS. A total of four days of active aHF-rTMS modified sgACC SERT BI one month post-stimulation, explaining to some extent the delayed clinical effects of accelerated rTMS paradigms found in human psychopathologies.