Low Frequency Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation To The Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Engages Thalamus, Striatum, And The Default Mode Network

SOURCE: Frontiers in Neuroscience. 16 (no pagination), 2022. Article Number: 997259.


AUTHORS: Caparelli E.D.C.; Abulseoud O.A.; Gu H.; Zhai T.; Schleyer B.; Yang Y.

ABSTRACT: The positive treatment outcomes of low frequency (LF) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) when applied over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in treatment-refractory depression has been verified. However, the mechanism of action behind these results have not been well-explored. In this work we used simultaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during TMS to explore the effect of LF rTMS on brain activity when applied to the right [RDLPFC1 (MNI: 50, 30, 36)] and left DLPFC sites [LDLPFC1 (MNI: -50, 30, 36), LDLPFC2 (MNI: -41, 16, 54)]. Seventeen healthy adult volunteers participated in this study. To identify brain areas affected by rTMS, an independent component analysis and a general linear model were used. Our results showed an important laterality effect when contrasting rTMS over the left and right sites. Specifically, LF rTMS increased brain activity at the striatum, thalamus, and areas of the default mode network when applied to the right, but not to the contralateral left DLPFC. In contrast, no site differences were observed when evaluating the effect of LF rTMS over the two left sites. These findings demonstrate that LF rTMS to the right DLPFC was able to stimulate the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical pathway, which is dysregulated in patients with major depressive disorder; therefore, possibly providing some neurobiological justification for the successful outcomes found thus far for LF rTMS in the treatment of depression.