Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive decline and brain neuronal loss. A pioneering field of research in AD is brain stimulation via electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which may produce clinical benefits. Noninvasive brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), have been developed to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders. The purpose of the present review is to identify neurobiological changes, including inflammatory, neurodegenerative, apoptotic, neuroprotective and genetic changes, which are associated with repetitive TMS (rTMS) treatment in patients with AD. Furthermore, it aims to evaluate the effect of TMS treatment in patients with AD and to identify the associated mechanisms. The present review highlights the changes in inflammatory and apoptotic mechanisms, mitochondrial enzymatic activities, and modulation of gene expression (microRNA expression profiles) associated with rTMS or sham procedures. At the molecular level, it has been suggested that EMFs generated by TMS may affect the cell redox status and amyloidogenic processes. TMS may also modulate gene expression by acting on both transcriptional and post‑transcriptional regulatory mechanisms. TMS may increase brain cortical excitability, induce specific potentiation phenomena, and promote synaptic plasticity and recovery of impaired functions; thus, it may re‑establish cognitive performance in patients with AD.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; biomarker; brain stimulation; neurobiology; transcranial magnetic stimulation.