Comparative modeling of transcranial magnetic and electric stimulation in mouse, monkey, and human

Neuroimage. 2019 Jul 1;194:136-148. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.044. Epub 2019 Mar 22.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electric stimulation (TES) are increasingly popular methods to noninvasively affect brain activity. However, their mechanism of action and dose-response characteristics remain under active investigation. Translational studies in animals play a pivotal role in these efforts due to a larger neuroscientific toolset enabled by invasive recordings. In order to translate knowledge gained in animal studies to humans, it is crucial to generate comparable stimulation conditions with respect to the induced electric field in the brain. Here, we conduct a finite element method (FEM) modeling study of TMS and TES electric fields in a mouse, capuchin and macaque monkeys, and a human model. We systematically evaluate the induced electric fields and analyze their relationship to head and brain anatomy. We find that with increasing head size, TMS-induced electric field strength first increases and then decreases according to a two-term exponential function. TES-induced electric field strength strongly decreases from smaller to larger specimen with up to 100x fold differences across species. Our results can serve as a basis to compare and match stimulation parameters across studies in animals and humans.

Keywords: Animal model; Finite element modeling; Neuromodulation; Transcranial electric stimulation; Transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Cebus
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Humans
  • Macaca
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal*
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation / methods*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / methods*