Electric Field Distribution Predicts Efficacy of Accelerated Intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation for Late-Life Depression

SOURCE: Frontiers in Psychiatry. 14 (no pagination), 2023. Article Number: 1215093


AUTHORS: Quinn D.K.; Upston J.; Jones T.R.; Gibson B.C.; Olmstead T.A.; Yang J.; Price A.M.; Bowers-Wu D.H.; Durham E.; Hazlewood S.; Farrar D.C.; Miller J.; Lloyd M.O.; Garcia C.A.; Ojeda C.J.; Hager B.W.; Vakhtin A.A.; Abbott C.C.

INTRODUCTION: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a promising intervention for late-life depression (LLD) but may have lower rates of response and remission owing to age-related brain changes. In particular, rTMS induced electric field strength may be attenuated by cortical atrophy in the prefrontal cortex. To identify clinical characteristics and treatment parameters associated with response, we undertook a pilot study of accelerated fMRI-guided intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) to the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in 25 adults aged 50 or greater diagnosed with LLD and qualifying to receive clinical rTMS.

METHOD(S): Participants underwent baseline behavioral assessment, cognitive testing, and structural and functional MRI to generate individualized targets and perform electric field modeling.
Forty-five sessions of iTBS were delivered over 9 days (1800 pulses per session, 50-min inter-session interval). Assessments and testing were repeated after 15 sessions (Visit 2) and 45 sessions (Visit 3). Primary outcome measure was the change in depressive symptoms on the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-30-Clinician (IDS-C-30) from Visit 1 to Visit 3.

RESULT(S): Overall there was a significant improvement in IDS score with the treatment (Visit 1: 38.6; Visit 2: 31.0; Visit 3: 21.3; mean improvement 45.5%) with 13/25 (52%) achieving response and 5/25 (20%) achieving remission (IDS-C-30 < 12). Electric field strength and antidepressant effect were positively correlated in a subregion of the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) (Brodmann area 47) and negatively correlated in the posterior dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC).

CONCLUSION(S): Response and remission rates were lower than in recently published trials of accelerated fMRI-guided iTBS to the left DLPFC. These results suggest that sufficient electric field strength in VLPFC may be a contributor to effective rTMS, and that modeling to optimize electric field strength in this area may improve response and remission rates. Further studies are needed to clarify the relationship of induced electric field strength with antidepressant effects of rTMS for LLD.

FULL ARTICLE LINK: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1215093/full