High-Frequency TMS Combined With Functional MRI Reveals Distinct Activation Patterns Associated With Different Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Stimulation Sites

SOURCE: Neuromodulation. 25(4):633-643, 2022 Jun.

AUTHORS: Caparelli EC; Schleyer B; Zhai T; Gu H; Abulseoud OA; Yang Y

OBJECTIVES: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been extensively used for the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and certain neurologic disorders. Despite having promising treatment efficacy, the fundamental neural mechanisms of TMS remain understudied.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study, 15 healthy adult participants received simultaneous TMS and functional magnetic resonance imaging to map the modulatory effect of TMS when it was applied over three different sites in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Independent component analysis (ICA) was used to identify the networks affected by TMS when applied over the different sites. The standard general linear model (GLM) analysis was used for comparison.

RESULTS: ICA showed that TMS affected the stimulation sites as well as remote brain areas, some areas/networks common across all TMS sites, and other areas/networks specific to each TMS site. In particular, TMS site and laterality differences were observed at the left executive control network. In addition, laterality differences also were observed at the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral/dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. In contrast with the ICA findings, the GLM-based results mainly showed activation of auditory cortices regardless of the TMS sites.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the notion that TMS could act through a top-down mechanism, indirectly modulating deep subcortical nodes by directly stimulating cortical regions.