Repetitive magnetic stimulation induces plasticity of inhibitory synapses

Nat Commun. 2016 Jan 8;7:10020. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10020.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is used as a therapeutic tool in neurology and psychiatry. While repetitive magnetic stimulation (rMS) has been shown to induce plasticity of excitatory synapses, it is unclear whether rMS can also modify structural and functional properties of inhibitory inputs. Here we employed 10-Hz rMS of entorhinohippocampal slice cultures to study plasticity of inhibitory neurotransmission on CA1 pyramidal neurons. Our experiments reveal a rMS-induced reduction in GABAergic synaptic strength (2-4 h after stimulation), which is Ca(2+)-dependent and accompanied by the remodelling of postsynaptic gephyrin scaffolds. Furthermore, we present evidence that 10-Hz rMS predominantly acts on dendritic, but not somatic inhibition. Consistent with this finding, a reduction in clustered gephyrin is detected in CA1 stratum radiatum of rTMS-treated anaesthetized mice. These results disclose that rTMS induces coordinated Ca(2+)-dependent structural and functional changes of specific inhibitory postsynapses on principal neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Body / metabolism
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching
  • GABAergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Magnetic Fields*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Neural Inhibition*
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • gephyrin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Calcium