Exploring the effects of anodal and cathodal high definition transcranial direct current stimulation targeting the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex

Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 13;8(1):4454. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-22730-x.


The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) has been identified as a core region affected by many disorders, representing a promising target for neuromodulation. High Definition-transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (HD-tDCS) is a non-invasive neuromodulation technique that has already shown promising outcomes and has been tested to engage deeper structures. This study investigates whether it is possible to modulate dACC activity using anodal and cathodal HD-tDCS. Furthermore, it examines what effects anodal and cathodal HD-tDCS targeting dACC have on cognitive and emotional processing. Forty-five healthy subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: anodal, cathodal, and sham. Resting-state electroencephalography (rsEEG) and a cognitive and emotional Counting Stroop task were administered before and after HD-tDCS. RsEEG showed changes: anodal HD-tDCS showed significant increase in beta frequency band activity in dACC, while cathodal HD-tDCS led to significant increase in activity at dorsal and rostral ACC in the theta frequency band. Behavioral changes were also found after anodal HD-tDCS in the cognitive Counting Stroop for incongruent trials and after cathodal HD-tDCS in the emotional Counting Stroop for emotional trials. This study demonstrated that HD-tDCS is able to modulate dACC activity, suggesting that it has the potential to be used as a treatment tool.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rest / physiology
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation / instrumentation*
  • Young Adult