Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Improve Symptoms and Modulates Cortical Inhibition in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A TMS-EEG Study

Source: Journal of Affective Disorders. 298(Pt A):558-564, 2022 02 01.

Cheng J; Li P; Tang Y; Zhang C; Lin L; Gao J; Wang Z


BACKGROUND: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disabling condition for which approximately 40% of patients do not respond to first-line treatment. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a safe and accessible technique that modulates cortical excitability and inhibition, but evidence of its efficacy for OCD is insufficient.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the efficacy of tDCS for OCD and alterations of cortical excitability and inhibition after treatment measured by concurrent transcranial magnetic stimulation-electroencephalography (TMS-EEG).

METHODS: Twenty-four OCD patients underwent 10 20-min sessions of 1.5 mA high-definition tDCS with a cathode placed over the right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and anode electrodes set around the cathodal electrode. TMS-EEG was performed before and after tDCS treatment. OCD symptom severitys was assessed using Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) were used to assess the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms. Twenty-seven healthy controls were recruited with TMS-EEG recorded.

RESULTS: Following tDCS, the Y-BOCS, BDI-II, and BAI scores decreased significantly (all p = 0.000). TMS-evoked N100 amplitude, thought to be related to GABAB receptor function, was significantly reduced after tDCS (Z = -2.143, p = 0.032) which was higher in OCD patients than in healthy controls at baseline (Z = -2.151, p = 0.031).

LIMITATIONS: Pharmacotherapy during tDCS treatment may influence the effect of tDCS and EEG.

CONCLUSIONS: Cathodal high-definition tDCS applied over the OFC could improve OCD, depression, and anxiety symptoms along with alleviation of GABAB receptor function.