Individualized beta-band oscillatory transcranial direct current stimulation over the primary motor cortex enhances corticomuscular coherence and corticospinal excitability in healthy individuals

Brain Stimul. 2022 Jan-Feb;15(1):46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2021.11.004. Epub 2021 Nov 3.


Background: Simultaneously modulating individual neural oscillation and cortical excitability may be important for enhancing communication between the primary motor cortex and spinal motor neurons, which plays a key role in motor control. However, it is unknown whether individualized beta-band oscillatory transcranial direct current stimulation (otDCS) enhances corticospinal oscillation and excitability.

Objective: This study investigated the effects of individualized beta-band otDCS on corticomuscular coherence (CMC) and corticospinal excitability in healthy individuals.

Methods: In total, 29 healthy volunteers participated in separate experiments. They received the following stimuli for 10 min on different days: 1) 2-mA otDCS with individualized beta-band frequencies, 2) 2-mA transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) with individualized beta-band frequencies, and 3) 2-mA transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). The changes in CMC between the vertex and tibialis anterior (TA) muscle and TA muscle motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were assessed before and after (immediately, 10 min, and 20 min after) stimulation on different days. Additionally, 20-Hz otDCS for 10 min was applied to investigate the effects of a fixed beta-band frequency on CMC.

Results: otDCS significantly increased CMC and MEPs immediately after stimulation, whereas tACS and tDCS had no effects. There was a significant negative correlation between normalized CMC changes in response to 20-Hz otDCS and the numerical difference between the 20-Hz and individualized CMC peak frequency before the stimulation.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that simultaneous modulation of neural oscillation and cortical excitability is critical for enhancing corticospinal communication. Individualized otDCS holds potential as a useful method in the field of neurorehabilitation.

Keywords: Cortical plasticity; Depolarization; Endogenous neural oscillation; Leg motor area; Noninvasive brain stimulation; Spike-timing-dependent plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Motor Cortex* / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation* / methods
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods