Probing phase- and frequency-dependent characteristics of cortical interneurons using combined transcranial alternating current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation

J Neurophysiol. 2017 Jun 1;117(6):2085-2087. doi: 10.1152/jn.00060.2017. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


Paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and peripheral stimulation combined with TMS can be used to study cortical interneuronal circuitry. By combining these procedures with concurrent transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), Guerra and colleagues recently showed that different cortical interneuronal populations are differentially modulated by the phase and frequency of tACS-imposed oscillations (Guerra A, Pogosyan A, Nowak M, Tan H, Ferreri F, Di Lazzaro V, Brown P. Cerebral Cortex 26: 3977-2990, 2016). This work suggests that different cortical interneuronal populations can be characterized by their phase and frequency dependency. Here we discuss how combining TMS and tACS can reveal the frequency at which cortical interneuronal populations oscillate, the neuronal origins of behaviorally relevant cortical oscillations, and how entraining cortical oscillations could potentially treat brain disorders.

Keywords: brain oscillations; entrainment; transcranial alternating current stimulation; transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation / methods*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*