Article

Moving Back in the Brain to Drive the Field Forward: Targeting Neurostimulation to Different Brain Regions in Animal Models of Depression and Neurodegeneration

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Abstract

Background Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is a promising noninvasive therapeutic tool for a variety of brain-related disorders. However, most therapeutic protocols target the anterior regions, leaving many other areas unexplored. There is a substantial therapeutic potential for stimulating various brain regions, which can be optimized in animal models. New Method We illustrate a method that can be utilized reliably to stimulate the anterior or posterior brain in freelymoving rodents. A coil support device is surgically attached onto the skull, which is used for consistent coil placement over the course of up to several weeks of stimulation sessions. Results Our methods provide reliable stimulation in animals without the need for restraint or sedation. We see little aversive effects of support placement and stimulation. Computational models provide evidence that moving the coil support location can be utilized to target major stimulation sites in humans and mice. Summaryof Findings with This Method Animal models are key to optimizing brain stimulation parameters, but research relies on restraint or sedation for consistency in coil placement. The method described here provides a unique means for reliable targeted stimulation in freely moving animals. Research utilizing this method has uncovered changes in biochemical and animal behavioral measurements as a function of brain stimulation. Conclusions The majority of research on magnetic stimulation focuses on anterior regions. Given the substantial network connectivity throughout the brain, it is critical to develop a reliable method for stimulating different regions. The method described here can be utilized to better inform clinical trials about optimal treatment localization, stimulation intensity and number of treatment sessions, and provides a motivation for exploring posterior brain regions for both mice and humans.

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... The female 3xTgAD mouse readily exhibits both plaques and tangles as well as cognitive dysfunction by 12 months of age or sooner [23] and is therefore a relevant model in which to test this hypothesis. rTMS provides direct stimulation to cortical areas of the brain and could be expected to directly modulate cortical function [24]. We therefore focused our analyses on cortical samples. ...
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... This support is used to place the rTMS coil for stimulation in freely moving mice. The surgical procedure follows that of Madore et al. [24]. Briefly, mice are anesthetized using 3% isoflurane, and a 2-3 cm incision is made into the scalp. ...
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Alternating electric fields at an intermediate frequency (100~300 kHz), referred to as tumour-treating fields (TTF), are believed to interrupt the process of mitosis via apoptosis and to act as an inhibitor of cell proliferation. Although the existence of an antimitotic effect of TTF is widely known, the proposed apoptotic mechanism of TTF on cell function and the efficacy of TTF are controversial issues among medical experts. To resolve these controversial issues, a better understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of TTF on cell function and the differences between the effects of TTF alone and in combination with other treatment techniques is essential. Here, we report experimental evidence of TTF-induced apoptosis and the synergistic antimitotic effect of TTF in combination with ionizing radiation (IR). For these experiments, two human Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells (U373 and U87) were treated either with TTF alone or with TTF followed by ionizing radiation (IR). Cell apoptosis, DNA damage, and mitotic abnormalities were quantified after the application of TTF, and their percentages were markedly increased when TTF was combined with IR. Our experimental results also suggested that TTF combined with IR synergistically suppressed both cell migration and invasion, based on the inhibition of MMP-9 and vimentin.
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Rodent models of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) play a crucial role in aiding the understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying TMS induced plasticity. Rodent-specific TMS have previously been used to deliver focal stimulation at the cost of stimulus intensity (12mT). Here we describe two novel TMS coils designed to deliver repetitive TMS (rTMS) at greater stimulation intensities whilst maintaining spatial resolution. Two circular coils (8 mm outer diameter) were constructed with either an air or pure iron core. Peak magnetic field strength for the air and iron-cores were 90mT and 120mT respectively, with the iron-core coil exhibiting less focality. Coil temperature and magnetic field stability for the two coils undergoing rTMS, were similar at1Hz but varied at 10Hz. Finite element modelling of 10Hz rTMS with the iron-core in a simplified rat brain model suggests a peak electric field of 85 V/m and 12.7 V/m, within the skull and the brain respectively. Delivering 10Hz rTMS to the motor cortex of anaesthetised rats with the iron-core coil significantly increased motor evoked potential amplitudes immediately after stimulation (n=4). Our results suggest these novel coils generate modest magnetic and electric fields, capable of altering cortical excitability and provide an alternative method to investigate the mechanisms underlying rTMS-induced plasticity in an experimental setting.
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During development, sensory systems switch from an immature to an adult mode of function along with the emergence of the active cortical states. Here, we used patch-clamp recordings from neocortical slices in vitro to characterize the developmental changes in the basic electrophysiological properties of excitatory L4 neurons and their connectivity before and after the developmental switch, which occurs in the rat barrel cortex in vivo at postnatal day P8. Prior to the switch, L4 neurons had lower resting membrane potentials, higher input resistance, lower membrane capacity, as well as action potentials (APs) with smaller amplitudes, longer durations and higher AP thresholds compared to the neurons after the switch. A sustained firing pattern also emerged around the switch. Dual patch-clamp recordings from L4 neurons revealed that recurrent connections between L4 excitatory cells do not exist before and develop rapidly across the switch. In contrast, electrical coupling between these neurons waned around the switch. We suggest that maturation of electrophysiological features, particularly acquisition of a sustained firing pattern, and a transition from the immature electrical to mature chemical synaptic coupling between excitatory L4 neurons, contributes to the developmental switch in the cortical mode of function.
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Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is an evidence based neurostimulation modality used to treat patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). In spite that the duration of current a depressive episode has been put forward as a negative predictor for clinical outcome, little is known about the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of this phenomenon. To address this important issue, in a sample of 43 melancholic stage III treatment resistant antidepressant-free refractory MDD patients, we reanalysed regional cerebral glucose metabolism (CMRglc) before high frequency (HF)-rTMS treatment, applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Besides that a lower baseline cerebellar metabolic activity indicated negative clinical response, a longer duration of the depressive episode was a negative indicator for recovery and negatively influenced cerebellar CMRglc. This exploratory 18FDG PET study is the first to demonstrate that the clinical response of HF-rTMS treatment in TRD patients may depend on the metabolic state of the cerebellum. Our observations could imply that for left DLPFC HF-rTMS non-responders other brain localisations for stimulation, more specifically the cerebellum, may be warranted.
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Background: Recent studies have indicated that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) could improve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Yet the results are inconclusive. Objective: This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate recent rTMS studies conducted in mild to moderate AD patients. Methods: PubMed, Embase, MEDLINE databases and Science Direct were searched for studies of rTMS treatment on AD patients with cognitive impairment published before February 2015. The relevant primary outcomes of cognition were extracted from those included studies. A crude standardized mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated by using random effect models. Results: Seven studies with a total of 94 mild to moderate AD patients were included in this meta-analysis. A significant overall rTMS treatment effect on cognition was found for all AD patients (p = 0.0008, SMD = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.41-1.58). Stratification analysis showed that this effect is stimulation frequency- and hemisphere-dependent. High frequency stimulation (>1.0 Hz) (p < 0.05) but not low frequency stimulation (≤1.0 Hz) (p > 0.05) was significantly effective in improving the cognition of AD patients. Further, rTMS stimulation on right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and bilateral DLPFC (p < 0.05), but not on the left DLPFC (p > 0.05) was significantly effective in improving cognitive function of AD patients. A significant effect was observed in the rTMS subgroup (p < 0.05), rather than in the rTMS+drug subgroup (p > 0.05). Conclusion: This meta-analysis supports that high frequency rTMS stimulation on right- or bilateral-DLPFC has significant therapeutic effect on cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate AD. Due to small number of studies included, more well-controlled rTMS studies should be evaluated in AD patients in the future.
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While it is well-known that neuronal activity promotes plasticity and connectivity, the success of activity-based neural rehabilitation programs remains extremely limited in human clinical experience because they cannot adequately control neuronal excitability and activity within the injured brain in order to induce repair. However, it is possible to non-invasively modulate brain plasticity using brain stimulation techniques such as repetitive transcranial (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) techniques, which show promise for repairing injured neural circuits (Henrich-Noack et al., 2013; Lefaucher et al., 2014). Yet we are far from having full control of these techniques to repair the brain following neurotrauma and need more fundamental research (Ellaway et al., 2014; Lefaucher et al., 2014). In this perspective we discuss the mechanisms by which rTMS may facilitate neurorehabilitation and propose experimental techniques with which magnetic stimulation may be investigated in order to optimise its treatment potential.
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During general anesthesia, global brain activity and behavioral state are profoundly altered. Yet, it remains mostly unknown how anesthetics alter sensory processing across cortical layers and modulate functional cortico-cortical connectivity. To address this gap in knowledge of the micro- and mesoscale effects of anesthetics on sensory processing in the cortical microcircuit, we recorded multiunit activity (MUA) and local field potential (LFP) in awake and anesthetized ferrets (Mustela putoris furo) during sensory stimulation. In order to understand how anesthetics alter sensory processing in a primary sensory area and the representation of sensory input in higher-order association areas, we studied the local sensory responses and long-range functional connectivity of primary visual cortex (V1) and prefrontal cortex (PFC). Isoflurane combined with xylazine provided general anesthesia for all anesthetized recordings. We found that anesthetics altered the duration of sensory-evoked responses, disrupted the response dynamics across cortical layers, suppressed both multimodal interactions in V1 and sensory responses in PFC, and reduced functional cortico-cortical connectivity between V1 and PFC. Together, the present findings demonstrate altered sensory responses and impaired functional network connectivity during anesthesia at the level of MUA and LFP across cortical layers. Copyright © 2014, Journal of Neurophysiology.
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Background: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is increasingly used as a treatment for neurological dysfunction. Therapeutic effects have been reported for low intensity rTMS (LI-rTMS) although these remain poorly understood. Objective: Our study describes for the first time a systematic comparison of the cellular and molecular changes in neurons in vitro induced by low intensity magnetic stimulation at different frequencies. Methods: We applied 5 different low intensity repetitive magnetic stimulation (LI-rMS) protocols to neuron-enriched primary cortical cultures for 4 days and assessed survival, and morphological and biochemical change. Results: We show pattern-specific effects of LI-rMS: simple frequency pulse trains (10 Hz and 100 Hz) impaired cell survival, while more complex stimulation patterns (theta-burst and a biomimetic frequency) did not. Moreover, only 1 Hz stimulation modified neuronal morphology, inhibiting neurite outgrowth. To understand mechanisms underlying these differential effects, we measured intracellular calcium concentration during LI-rMS and subsequent changes in gene expression. All LI-rMS frequencies increased intracellular calcium, but rather than influx from the extracellular milieu typical of depolarization, all frequencies induced calcium release from neuronal intracellular stores. Furthermore, we observed pattern-specific changes in expression of genes related to apoptosis and neurite outgrowth, consistent with our morphological data on cell survival and neurite branching. Conclusions: Thus, in addition to the known effects on cortical excitability and synaptic plasticity, our data demonstrate that LI-rMS can change the survival and structural complexity of neurons. These findings provide a cellular and molecular framework for understanding what low intensity magnetic stimulation may contribute to human rTMS outcomes.
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The influential notion that the hippocampus supports associative memory by interacting with functionally distinct and distributed brain regions has not been directly tested in humans. We therefore used targeted noninvasive electromagnetic stimulation to modulate human cortical-hippocampal networks and tested effects of this manipulation on memory. Multiple-session stimulation increased functional connectivity among distributed cortical-hippocampal network regions and concomitantly improved associative memory performance. These alterations involved localized long-term plasticity because increases were highly selective to the targeted brain regions, and enhancements of connectivity and associative memory persisted for ~24 hours after stimulation. Targeted cortical-hippocampal networks can thus be enhanced noninvasively, demonstrating their role in associative memory.
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A group of European experts was commissioned to establish guidelines on the therapeutic use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) from evidence published up until March 2014, regarding pain, movement disorders, stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, consciousness disorders, tinnitus, depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, craving/addiction, and conversion. Despite unavoidable inhomogeneities, there is a sufficient body of evidence to accept with level A (definite efficacy) the analgesic effect of high-frequency (HF) rTMS of the primary motor cortex (M1) contralateral to the pain and the antidepressant effect of HF-rTMS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). A Level B recommendation (probable efficacy) is proposed for the antidepressant effect of low-frequency (LF) rTMS of the right DLPFC, HF-rTMS of the left DLPFC for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and LF-rTMS of contralesional M1 in chronic motor stroke. The effects of rTMS in a number of indications reach level C (possible efficacy), including LF-rTMS of the left temporoparietal cortex in tinnitus and auditory hallucinations. It remains to determine how to optimize rTMS protocols and techniques to give them relevance in routine clinical practice. In addition, professionals carrying out rTMS protocols should undergo rigorous training to ensure the quality of the technical realization, guarantee the proper care of patients, and maximize the chances of success. Under these conditions, the therapeutic use of rTMS should be able to develop in the coming years.
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Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is increasingly used as a treatment for neurological and psychiatric disorders. Although the induced field is focused on a target region during rTMS, adjacent areas also receive stimulation at a lower intensity and the contribution of this perifocal stimulation to network-wide effects is poorly defined. Here, we examined low-intensity rTMS (LI-rTMS)-induced changes on a model neural network using the visual systems of normal (C57Bl/6J wild-type, n = 22) and ephrin-A2A5−/− (n = 22) mice, the latter possessing visuotopic anomalies. Mice were treated with LI-rTMS or sham (handling control) daily for 14 d, then fluorojade and fluororuby were injected into visual cortex. The distribution of dorsal LGN (dLGN) neurons and corticotectal terminal zones (TZs) was mapped and disorder defined by comparing their actual location with that predicted by injection sites. In the afferent geniculocortical projection, LI-rTMS decreased the abnormally high dispersion of retrogradely labeled neurons in the dLGN of ephrin-A2A5−/− mice, indicating geniculocortical map refinement. In the corticotectal efferents, LI-rTMS improved topography of the most abnormal TZs in ephrin-A2A5−/− mice without altering topographically normal TZs. To investigate a possible molecular mechanism for LI-rTMS-induced structural plasticity, we measured brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the visual cortex and superior colliculus after single and multiple stimulations. BDNF was upregulated after a single stimulation for all groups, but only sustained in the superior colliculus of ephrin-A2A5−/− mice. Our results show that LI-rTMS upregulates BDNF, promoting a plastic environment conducive to beneficial reorganization of abnormal cortical circuits, information that has important implications for clinical rTMS.
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Objective: Treatment of different depression symptoms may require different brain stimulation targets with different underlying brain circuits. The authors sought to identify such targets, which could improve the efficacy of therapeutic brain stimulation and facilitate personalized therapy. Methods: The authors retrospectively analyzed two independent cohorts of patients who received left prefrontal transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression (discovery sample, N=30; active replication sample, N=81; sham replication sample, N=87). Each patient's TMS site was mapped to underlying brain circuits using functional connectivity MRI from a large connectome database (N=1,000). Circuits associated with improvement in each depression symptom were identified and then clustered based on similarity. The authors tested for reproducibility across data sets and whether symptom-specific targets derived from one data set could predict symptom improvement in the other independent cohort. Results: The authors identified two distinct circuit targets effective for two discrete clusters of depressive symptoms. Dysphoric symptoms, such as sadness and anhedonia, responded best to stimulation of one circuit, while anxiety and somatic symptoms responded best to stimulation of a different circuit. These circuit maps were reproducible, predicted symptom improvement in independent patient cohorts, and were specific to active compared with sham stimulation. The maps predicted symptom improvement in an exploratory analysis of stimulation sites from 14 clinical TMS trials. Conclusions: Distinct clusters of depressive symptoms responded better to different TMS targets across independent retrospective data sets. These symptom-specific targets can be prospectively tested in a randomized clinical trial. This data-driven approach for identifying symptom-specific targets may prove useful for other disorders and facilitate personalized neuromodulation therapy.
Article
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a form of non-invasive brain stimulation that has shown therapeutic potential for various nervous system disorders. In addition to its modulatory effects on neuronal excitability, rTMS is capable of altering neurotransmitter (e.g., glutamate, GABA, dopamine and serotonin) concentrations in cortical and subcortical brain regions. Here we used a modified liquid chromatography coupled tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to quantify changes in 27 free amino acids and the monoamines: dopamine (DA), serotonin (5HT) and their metabolites (DOPAC, HVA; 5HIAA) in the mouse brain. Awake C57BL/6 J mice (either sex, 8-12 weeks old) received 10 Hz rTMS using two devices that can deliver low (LI-; 12 mT; custom built) or high (Fo8-; 1.2 T; MagVenture) intensity rTMS. Sham (unstimulated) mice were used as controls. Samples were collected immediately following a single session of rTMS or sham and processed for LC-MS/MS. The modified LC-MS/MS method used to detect DA, 5-HT and their metabolites showed good accuracy and precision with regression coefficients greater than 0.999, and an intra- and inter-day reproducibility with values < 13%. Fo8-rTMS induced a significant reduction in cortical 5-HT turnover rates, hippocampal DOPAC and an increase in striatal DOPAC concentrations. Fo8-rTMS also reduced concentrations of hippocampal α-aminoadipic acid, and striatal serine, threonine, sarcosine, aspartate and glutamate. There were no changes in the level of any compounds following LI-rTMS as compared to sham. The rapid change in monoamine turnover and amino acid concentrations following Fo8-rTMS but not LI-rTMS suggests that different stimulation parameters recruit different cellular mechanisms related to rTMS-induced plasticity. The described method can be used for the characterisation of trace levels of neurotransmitters and amino acids in brain tissue homogenates, providing a useful and precise tool to investigate localised neurotransmitter changes in animal models of health and disease.
Chapter
Numerical simulation of the electric fields induced by non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS), using realistic anatomical head models has gained interest in recent years for understanding the NIBS effects in individual subjects. Although automated tools for generating the head models and performing the electric field simulations have become available, individualized modelling is still not a standard practice in NIBS studies. This is likely partly explained by the lack of robustness and usability of the previously available software tools, and partly by the still developing understanding of the link between physiological effects and electric field distributions in the brain. To facilitate individualized modelling in NIBS, we have introduced the SimNIBS (Simulation of NIBS) software package, providing easy-to-use automated tools for electric field modelling. In this chapter, we give an overview of the modelling pipeline in SimNIBS 2.1, with step-by-step examples of how to run a simulation. Furthermore, we demonstrate a set of scripts for extracting average electric fields for a group of subjects, and finally demonstrate the accuracy of automated placement of standard electrode montages on the head model. SimNIBS 2.1 is freely available at www.simnibs.org.
Article
Objective: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a highly prevalent psychiatric disorder associated with disruption in social and occupational function. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) represents a novel approach to PTSD, and intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS) is a new, more rapid administration protocol with data supporting efficacy in depression. The authors conducted a sham-controlled study of iTBS for PTSD. Methods: Fifty veterans with PTSD received 10 days of sham-controlled iTBS (1,800 pulses/day), followed by 10 unblinded sessions. Primary outcome measures included acceptability (retention rates), changes in PTSD symptoms (clinician- and self-rated), quality of life, social and occupational function, and depression, obtained at the end of 2 weeks; analysis of variance was used to compare active with sham stimulation. Secondary outcomes were evaluated 1 month after treatment, using mixed-model analyses. Resting-state functional MRI was acquired at pretreatment baseline on an eligible subset of participants (N=26) to identify response predictors. Results: Retention was high, side effects were consistent with standard TMS, and blinding was successful. At 2 weeks, active iTBS was significantly associated with improved social and occupational function (Cohen's d=0.39); depression was improved with iTBS compared with the sham treatment (d=-0.45), but the difference fell short of significance, and moderate nonsignificant effect sizes were observed on self-reported PTSD symptoms (d=-0.34). One-month outcomes, which incorporated data from the unblinded phase of the study, indicated superiority of active iTBS on clinician- and self-rated PTSD symptoms (d=-0.74 and -0.63, respectively), depression (d=-0.47), and social and occupational function (d=0.93) (all significant). Neuroimaging indicated that clinical improvement was significantly predicted by stronger (greater positive) connectivity within the default mode network and by anticorrelated (greater negative) cross-network connectivity. Conclusions: iTBS appears to be a promising new treatment for PTSD. Most clinical improvements from stimulation occurred early, which suggests a need for further investigation of optimal iTBS time course and duration. Consistent with previous neuroimaging studies of TMS, default mode network connectivity played an important role in response prediction.
Article
Objective: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic and disabling condition that often responds unsatisfactorily to pharmacological and psychological treatments. Converging evidence suggests a dysfunction of the cortical-striatal-thalamic-cortical circuit in OCD, and a previous feasibility study indicated beneficial effects of deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) targeting the medial prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex. The authors examined the therapeutic effect of dTMS in a multicenter double-blind sham-controlled study. Methods: At 11 centers, 99 OCD patients were randomly allocated to treatment with either high-frequency (20 Hz) or sham dTMS and received daily treatments following individualized symptom provocation, for 6 weeks. Clinical response to treatment was determined using the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS), and the primary efficacy endpoint was the change in score from baseline to posttreatment assessment. Additional measures were response rates (defined as a reduction of ≥30% in YBOCS score) at the posttreatment assessment and after another month of follow-up. Results: Eighty-nine percent of the active treatment group and 96% of the sham treatment group completed the study. The reduction in YBOCS score among patients who received active dTMS treatment was significantly greater than among patients who received sham treatment (reductions of 6.0 points and 3.3 points, respectively), with response rates of 38.1% and 11.1%, respectively. At the 1-month follow-up, the response rates were 45.2% in the active treatment group and 17.8% in the sham treatment group. Significant differences between the groups were maintained at follow-up. Conclusions: High-frequency dTMS over the medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex significantly improved OCD symptoms and may be considered as a potential intervention for patients who do not respond adequately to pharmacological and psychological interventions.
Article
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electric stimulation (TES) are increasingly popular methods to noninvasively affect brain activity. However, their mechanism of action and dose-response characteristics remain under active investigation. Translational studies in animals play a pivotal role in these efforts due to a larger neuroscientific toolset enabled by invasive recordings. In order to translate knowledge gained in animal studies to humans, it is crucial to generate comparable stimulation conditions with respect to the induced electric field in the brain. Here, we conduct a finite element method (FEM) modeling study of TMS and TES electric fields in a mouse, capuchin and macaque monkeys, and a human model. We systematically evaluate the induced electric fields and analyze their relationship to head and brain anatomy. We find that with increasing head size, TMS-induced electric field strength first increases and then decreases according to a two-term exponential function. TES-induced electric field strength strongly decreases from smaller to larger specimen with up to 100x fold differences across species. Our results can serve as a basis to compare and match stimulation parameters across studies in animals and humans.
Article
Introduction Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disabling disease with an annual prevalence of 1.2%. Currently approved medications only result in a reduction of symptoms for 40-60% of patients leaving most patients significantly affected. Symptom severity is correlated to the degree of hyperconnectivity in the cortico-stiriato-thalamic circuit and increased glucose metabolism in the anterior cingulate cortex during symptom provocation and at rest. Methods Ninety-four OCD patients who met inclusion/exclusion criteria (age 22-68, YBOCS≥20 despite SSRI treatment and/or CBT, stable on medications or therapy for at least two months) were randomized to receive active or sham treatment for twenty-nine sessions over six weeks. Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation(dTMS) was applied over the medial prefrontal(mPFC) and anterior cingulate cortices(ACC) using the H7 dTMS coil. Once the coil was in the treatment position, the patient’s symptoms were provoked using an individualized script tailored to the patient’s obsessions and compulsions. Subsequently, dTMS was administered for eighteen minutes at 100% resting motor threshold of the foot, 20HZ pulse frequency, in 2 second trains, with a 20 second inter-train interval totaling 2000 pulses. The sham coil was designed to have the same sound, scalp and facial sensation of the real coil without stimulating the brain directly. Results The mean age of the subjects was 38.7 (±11.75), 58.7%male, 78.8% Caucasian, mean age of onset was 13, 98% had failed medications approved for OCD and 68.7% had failed CBT. At the end of week 6 (the primary endpoint) the YBOCS decreased by 5.7 points (95% CI: [3.3;8.2]) in the dTMS arm and by 3.0 points (95% CI: [0.7;5.4]) in the control arm (p-value: 0.0157). Response (≥30% decrease/20% decrease in the YBOCS) rates were dTMS 38.10% in the dTMS arm and 11.11% in the sham arm (p-value:0.0033). Partial response rates were (≥20% decrease in the YBOCS) 54.76 in the dTMS arm and 26.67% in the sham arm (p-value: 0.0076). At week 10 (follow up) the YBOCS decreased by 6.2 points (95% CI: [3.6;8.7]) in the dTMS arm and by 3.8 points (95% CI: [1.4;6.2]) in the control arm (p-value: 0.0459). There were no serious adverse events related to the treatment. The most frequent adverse event, headache, did not differ in frequency between the two arms. Conclusions High frequency dTMS of the ACC was found to be an effective treatment for OCD. This approach is an additional intervention in the toolbox for treating OCD.
Article
Memory loss is one of the first symptoms of typical Alzheimer's disease (AD), for which there are no effective therapies available. The precuneus (PC) has been recently emphasized as a key area for the memory impairment observed in early AD, likely due to disconnection mechanisms within large-scale networks such as the default mode network (DMN). Using a multimodal approach we investigated in a two-week, randomized, sham-controlled, double-blinded trial the effects of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the PC on cognition, as measured by the Alzheimer Disease Cooperative Study Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite in 14 patients with early AD (7 females). TMS combined with electroencephalography (TMS-EEG) was used to detect changes in brain connectivity. We found that rTMS of the PC induced a selective improvement in episodic memory, but not in other cognitive domains. Analysis of TMS-EEG signal revealed an increase of neural activity in patients' PC, an enhancement of brain oscillations in the beta band and a modification of functional connections between the PC and medial frontal areas within the DMN. Our findings show that high-frequency rTMS of the PC is a promising, non-invasive treatment for memory dysfunction in patients at early stages of AD. This clinical improvement is accompanied by modulation of brain connectivity, consistently with the pathophysiological model of brain disconnection in AD.
Article
Background: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive technique that uses magnetic pulses over the cranium to induce electrical currents in underlying cortical tissue. Although rTMS has shown clinical utility for a number of neurological conditions, we have only limited understanding of how rTMS influences cellular function and cell-cell interactions. Objective: In this study, we sought to investigate whether repeated magnetic stimulation (rMS) can influence astrocyte biology in vitro. Method: We tested four different rMS frequencies and measured the calcium response in primary neonatal astrocyte cultures. We also tested the effect of rMS on astrocyte migration and proliferation in vitro. We tested 3 to 4 culture replicates and 17 to 34 cells for each rMS frequency (sham, 1 Hz, cTBS, 10 Hz and biomemetic high frequency stimulation - BHFS). Results: Of all frequencies tested, 1 Hz stimulation resulted in a statistically significant rise in intracellular calcium in the cytoplasmic and nuclear compartments of the cultured astrocytes. This calcium rise did not affect migration or proliferation in the scratch assay, though astrocyte hypertrophy was reduced in response to 1 Hz rMS, 24 hours post scratch injury. Conclusion: Our results provide preliminary evidence that rMS can influence astrocyte physiology, indicating the potential for a novel mechanism by which rTMS can influence brain activity.
Article
Background: In recent years, many studies have evaluated the effects of noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques for the treatment of several neurological and psychiatric disorders. Positive results led to approval of NIBS for some of these conditions by the Food and Drug Administration in the USA. The therapeutic effects of NIBS have been related to bi-directional changes in cortical excitability with the direction of change depending on the choice of stimulation protocol. Although after-effects are mostly short lived, complex neurobiological mechanisms related to changes in synaptic excitability bear the potential to further induce therapy-relevant lasting changes. Objective: To review recent neurobiological findings obtained from in vitro and in vivo studies that highlight molecular and cellular mechanisms of short- and long-term changes of synaptic plasticity after NIBS. Findings: Long-term potentiation (LTP) and depression (LTD) phenomena by itself are insufficient in explaining the early and long term changes taking place after short episodes of NIBS. Preliminary experimental studies indicate a complex scenario potentially relevant to the therapeutic effects of NIBS, including gene activation/regulation, de novo protein expression, morphological changes, changes in intrinsic firing properties and modified network properties resulting from changed inhibition, homeostatic processes and glial function. Conclusions: This review brings into focus the neurobiological mechanisms underlying long-term after-effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) recently obtained from in vitro and in vivo studies, both in animals and humans.
Conference Paper
Obtaining quantitative measures from biomedical images often requires segmentation, i.e., finding and outlining the structures of interest. Multi-modality imaging datasets, in which multiple imaging measures are available at each spatial location, are increasingly common, particularly in MRI. In applications where fully automatic segmentation algorithms are unavailable or fail to perform at desired levels of accuracy, semi-automatic segmentation can be a time-saving alternative to manual segmentation, allowing the human expert to guide segmentation, while minimizing the effort expended by the expert on repetitive tasks that can be automated. However, few existing 3D image analysis tools support semi-automatic segmentation of multi-modality imaging data. This paper describes new extensions to the ITK-SNAP interactive image visualization and segmentation tool that support semi-automatic segmentation of multi-modality imaging datasets in a way that utilizes information from all available modalities simultaneously. The approach combines Random Forest classifiers, trained by the user by placing several brushstrokes in the image, with the active contour segmentation algorithm. The new multi-modality semi-automatic segmentation approach is evaluated in the context of high-grade glioblastoma segmentation.
Article
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is more than a mere tool for clinical non-invasive approaches to stimulate and synchronize the neuronal activity in the brain. Electromagnetic stimulation through TMS has recently emerged as a therapeutic alternative for treatment of different neurological disorders. Among the many properties recently discovered for TMS, its action as an accounting factor for neuroplasticity and neurogenesis is among its most promising features. Translational studies in animal models offer various advantages and also bridge this knowledge gap due to their direct assessment of the brain stimulation impact at the neural level. These profiles have been obtained through the study of animal models, which, in turn, have served for the establishment of the action mechanisms of this method. In this review we revise and discuss evidence collected on the promising properties of TMS after visiting the different animal models developed so far, and provide a practical perspective of its possible application for clinical purposes.
Article
It has been argued that clinical depression is accompanied by reductions in cortical excitability of the left prefrontal cortex (PFC). In support of this, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which is a method of enhancing cortical excitability, has shown antidepressant efficacy when applied over the left PFC, although the overall therapeutic effects remain inconclusive. The cerebral pathophysiology of depression is, however, not limited to dysfunctions in the PFC, thus, targeting alternative brain regions with rTMS may provide new therapeutic windows in the treatment of depression. Evidence from electroencephalography and lesion studies suggests that not only is the left PFC involved in depression but also the parietal cortex and cerebellum. Furthermore, rTMS over the parietal cortex and the cerebellum has been found to improve mood and emotional functioning, at least in healthy volunteers. We have integrated these findings in an rTMS-oriented theoretical framework for the neurobiology of low mood and depression. To establish the possible therapeutic efficacy of this model, whereby, for example, the application of slow rTMS over the right parietal cortex and fast rTMS over the cerebellum may be beneficial in different subtypes of depression, clinical rTMS studies that target the parietal cortex and cerebellum are warranted.
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Since the development of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in the early 1980s, a range of repetitive TMS (rTMS) protocols are now available to modulate neuronal plasticity in clinical and non-clinical populations. However, despite the wide application of rTMS in humans, the mechanisms underlying rTMS-induced plasticity remain uncertain. Animal and in vitro models provide an adjunct method of investigating potential synaptic and non-synaptic mechanisms of rTMS-induced plasticity. This review summarizes in vitro experimental studies, in vivo studies with intact rodents, and preclinical models of selected neurological disorders—Parkinson’s disease, depression, and stroke. We suggest that these basic research findings can contribute to the understanding of how rTMS-induced plasticity can be modulated, including novel mechanisms such as neuroprotection and neurogenesis that have significant therapeutic potential.
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With the wide access to studies of selected gene expressions in transgenic animals, mice have become the dominant species as cerebral disease models. Many of these studies are performed on animals of not more than eight weeks, declared as adult animals. Based on the earlier reports that full brain maturation requires at least three months in rats, there is a clear need to discern the corresponding minimal animal age to provide an "adult brain" in mice in order to avoid modulation of disease progression/therapy studies by ongoing developmental changes. For this purpose, we have studied anatomical brain alterations of mice during their first six months of age. Using T2-weighted and diffusion-weighted MRI, structural and volume changes of the brain were identified and compared with histological analysis of myelination. Mouse brain volume was found to be almost stable already at three weeks, but cortex thickness kept decreasing continuously with maximal changes during the first three months. Myelination is still increasing between three and six months, although most dramatic changes are over by three months. While our results emphasize that mice should be at least three months old when adult animals are needed for brain studies, preferred choice of one particular metric for future investigation goals will result in somewhat varying age window of stabilization.
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