Pursuing personalized medicine for depression by targeting the lateral or medial prefrontal cortex with Deep TMS

JCI Insight. 2023 Feb 22;8(4):e165271. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.165271.


BACKGROUNDMajor depressive disorder (MDD) can benefit from novel interventions and personalization. Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (Deep TMS) targeting the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) using the H1 coil was FDA cleared for treatment of MDD. However, recent preliminary data indicate that targeting the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) using the H7 coil might induce outcomes that are as good or even better. Here, we explored whether Deep TMS targeting the MPFC is noninferior to targeting the LPFC and whether electrophysiological or clinical markers for patient selection can be identified.METHODSThe present prospective, multicenter, randomized study enrolled 169 patients with MDD for whom antidepressants failed in the current episode. Patients were randomized to receive 24 Deep TMS sessions over 6 weeks, using either the H1 coil or the H7 coil. The primary efficacy endpoint was the change from baseline to week 6 in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores.RESULTSClinical efficacy and safety profiles were similar and not significantly different between groups, with response rates of 60.9% for the H1 coil and 64.2% for the H7 coil. Moreover, brain activity measured by EEG during the first treatment session correlated with clinical outcomes in a coil-specific manner, and a cluster of baseline clinical symptoms was found to potentially distinguish between patients who can benefit from each Deep TMS target.CONCLUSIONThis study provides a treatment option for MDD, using the H7 coil, and initial guidance to differentiate between patients likely to respond to LPFC versus MPFC stimulation targets, which require further validation studies.TRIAL REGISTRATIONClinicalTrials.gov NCT03012724.FUNDINGBrainsWay Ltd.

Keywords: Behavior; Clinical Trials; Depression; Neuroimaging; Neuroscience.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Depression*
  • Humans
  • Precision Medicine
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation*
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03012724

Grants and funding

The study was funded by BrainsWay, a publicly traded company.