Alpha frequency rTMS modulates theta lagged nonlinear connectivity in dorsal attention network

Brain Res Bull. 2020 Sep:162:271-281. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2020.06.018. Epub 2020 Jun 30.


Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is a key structure in dorsal attention network (DAN) that facilitates sustained attention by modulating activity in task related and unrelated regions of the brain. Alpha and theta frequency bands enhance connectivity among different parts of the attention network and these connections are facilitated by long-range nonlinear connectivity in theta and alpha frequency bands. This study is an investigation of the behavioral and electrophysiological effects of alpha and theta frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over RDLPFC. 20 healthy participants were randomly assigned to two groups of theta (n = 11, f = 6 Hz) and alpha (n = 9, f = 10 Hz) rTMS. Electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded before and after each session while resting and performing tasks. Current source density (CSD) and functional connectivity (FC) in DAN and default mode network (DMN) and their correlations with rapid visual information processing task (RVIP) scores were calculated . Alpha frequency rTMS resulted in significant changes in RVIP scores. Active theta rTMS caused an increase in CSD in Postcentral gyrus and active alpha rTMS resulted in significant CSD changes in inferior parietal lobule (IPL). Theta lagged nonlinear connectivity was mudulated by alpha rTMSand FC changes were observed in DAN and DMN. Positive correlations were observed between DAN regions and RVIP scores in the alpha rTMS group. Increased activity in theta frequency band in left aPFC and left DLPFC correlated positively with higher total hits in RVIP. This study showed for the first time that theta and alpha frequency rTMS are able to modulate FC in DAN and DMN in a way that results in better performance in a sustained attention task.

Keywords: Default mode network; Dorsal attention network; Sustained attention; Transcranial magnetic stimulation; eLORETA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Young Adult