Multi-session tDCS paired with passive mobilisation of the thumb modulates thalamo-cortical coupling during command following in the healthy brain

Davide Aloi, Roya Jalali, Sara Calzolari, Melanie Lafanechere, R Chris Miall, Davinia Fernández-Espejo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Therapeutic options to restore responsiveness in patients with prolonged disorder of consciousness (PDOC) are limited. We have recently shown that a single session of tDCS over M1 delivered at rest can reduce thalamic self-inhibition during motor command following. Here, we build upon this by exploring whether pairing tDCS with a concurrent passive mobilisation protocol can further influence thalamo-M1 dynamics and whether these changes are enhanced after multiple stimulation sessions. Specifically, we used Dynamic Causal Modelling (DCM) of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from 22 healthy participants to assess changes in effective connectivity within the motor network during active thumb movements after 1 or 5 sessions of tDCS paired with passive mobilisations of the thumb. We found that a single anodal tDCS session decreased self-inhibition in M1, with five sessions further enhancing this effect. In addition, anodal tDCS increased thalamo-M1 excitation as compared to cathodal stimulation, with the effects maintained after 5 sessions. Together, our results suggest that pairing anodal tDCS with passive mobilisation across multiple sessions may facilitate thalamo-cortical dynamics that are relevant for behavioural responsiveness in PDOC. More broadly, they offer a mechanistic window into the neural underpinnings of the cumulative effects of multi-session tDCS.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120145
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroImage
Volume274
Early online date28 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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