Behavioral and Functional Brain Activity Alterations Induced by TMS Coils with Different Spatial Distributions

SOURCE: Eneuro. 10(4), 2023 Apr.

AUTHORS: Pell GS; Roth Y; Shachar H; Isserles M; Barnea-Ygael N; Zangen A

ABSTRACT: Previous investigation of cognitive processes using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) have explored the response to different stimulation parameters such as frequency and coil location. In this study, we attempt to add another parameter by exploiting the spatial profiles of TMS coils to infer regional information concerning reward-related behavior. We used different TMS coils to modulate activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and examined resulting changes in behavior and associated brain activity. More specifically, we used the Figure-8 coil to stimulate a portion of the dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC) and the H-Coil to stimulate a larger volume within the lateral PFC (LPFC). Healthy human volunteers completed behavioral questionnaires (n = 29) or performed a reward-related decision-making functional MRI (fMRI) task (n = 21) immediately before and after acute high-frequency stimulation (10 Hz) with either a Figure-8 coil, H-Coil, or a sham coil. Stimulation was found to induce behavioral changes as well as changes in brain activation in key nodes of the reward network. Right LPFC, but not right DLPFC or sham, stimulation was found to induce changes in both behavioral scores and brain activation in key nodes of the reward system. In conclusion, this study supports the role of the right LPFC in reward-related behavior and suggest that the pathways through which the observed effects were generated are located outside the area of the DLPFC that is traditionally targeted with TMS. These results demonstrate the use of TMS coils with different spatial profiles as an informative tool to investigate anatomic and functional correlates of behavior.