Resting-state fMRI study of brain activation using low-intensity repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in rats

Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 30;8(1):6706. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-24951-6.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive neuromodulation technique used to treat many neuropsychiatric conditions. However, the mechanisms underlying its mode of action are still unclear. This is the first rodent study using resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) to examine low-intensity (LI) rTMS effects, in an effort to provide a direct means of comparison between rodent and human studies. Using anaesthetised Sprague-Dawley rats, rs-fMRI data were acquired before and after control or LI-rTMS at 1 Hz, 10 Hz, continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) or biomimetic high-frequency stimulation (BHFS). Independent component analysis revealed LI-rTMS-induced changes in the resting-state networks (RSN): (i) in the somatosensory cortex, the synchrony of resting activity decreased ipsilaterally following 10 Hz and bilaterally following 1 Hz stimulation and BHFS, and increased ipsilaterally following cTBS; (ii) the motor cortex showed bilateral changes following 1 Hz and 10 Hz stimulation, a contralateral decrease in synchrony following BHFS, and an ipsilateral increase following cTBS; and (iii) hippocampal synchrony decreased ipsilaterally following 10 Hz, and bilaterally following 1 Hz stimulation and BHFS. The present findings demonstrate that LI-rTMS modulates functional links within the rat RSN with frequency-specific outcomes, and the observed changes are similar to those described in humans following rTMS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / radiation effects
  • Motor Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Motor Cortex / radiation effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / adverse effects