Corticomotor Plasticity as a Predictor of Response to High Frequency Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder

SOURCE: Journal of Affective Disorders. 303:114-122, 2022 04 15.

AUTHORS: Hinchman CA; Fried PJ; Jannati A; Press DZ; Pascual-Leone A; Stern AP

BACKGROUND: Many patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) respond to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment. This study aimed to investigate whether modulation of corticomotor excitability by rTMS predicts response to rTMS treatment for TRD in 10 Hz and intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS) protocols.

METHODS: Thirteen TRD patients underwent two evaluations of corticomotor plasticity-assessed as the post-rTMS (10 Hz, iTBS) percent change (%) in motor evoked potential (MEP) amplitude elicited by single-pulse TMS. Following corticomotor plasticity evaluations, patients subsequently underwent a standard 6-week course of 10 Hz rTMS (4 s train, 26 s inter-train interval, 3000 total pulses, 120% of motor threshold) to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Treatment efficacy was assessed by the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D). The change in MEPs was compared between 10 Hz and iTBS conditions and related to the change in BDI-II and HAM-D scores.

RESULTS: Analyses of variance revealed that across all time-points, higher post-10 Hz MEP change was a significant predictor of greater improvement on the BDI-II (p < 0.001) and HAM-D (p = 0.022). This relationship was not observed with iTBS (p-values>=0.100). Post-hoc tests revealed the MEP change 20 min post-10 Hz was the strongest predictor of BDI-II improvement.

LIMITATIONS: Cortical excitability was measured from the motor cortex, rather than the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, where treatment is applied. The 10 Hz and iTBS protocols were performed at different intensities consistent with common practice.

CONCLUSIONS: Modulation of corticomotor excitability by 10 Hz can predict response to rTMS treatment with 10 Hz rTMS.