rTMS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex modulates dopamine release in the ipsilateral anterior cingulate cortex and orbitofrontal cortex

PLoS One. 2009 Aug 21;4(8):e6725. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006725.


Background: Brain dopamine is implicated in the regulation of movement, attention, reward and learning and plays an important role in Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia and drug addiction. Animal experiments have demonstrated that brain stimulation is able to induce significant dopaminergic changes in extrastriatal areas. Given the up-growing interest of non-invasive brain stimulation as potential tool for treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, it would be critical to investigate dopaminergic functional interactions in the prefrontal cortex and more in particular the effect of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) (areas 9/46) stimulation on prefrontal dopamine (DA).

Methodology/principal findings: Healthy volunteers were studied with a high-affinity DA D2-receptor radioligand, [(11)C]FLB 457-PET following 10 Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the left and right DLPFC. rTMS on the left DLPFC induced a significant reduction in [(11)C]FLB 457 binding potential (BP) in the ipsilateral subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) (BA 25/12), pregenual ACC (BA 32) and medial orbitofrontal cortex (BA 11). There were no significant changes in [(11)C]FLB 457 BP following right DLPFC rTMS.

Conclusions/significance: To our knowledge, this is the first study to provide evidence of extrastriatal DA modulation following acute rTMS of DLPFC with its effect limited to the specific areas of medial prefrontal cortex. [(11)C]FLB 457-PET combined with rTMS may allow to explore the neurochemical functions of specific cortical neural networks and help to identify the neurobiological effects of TMS for the treatment of different neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation*


  • Dopamine