Evidence of transcranial direct current stimulation-generated electric fields at subthalamic level in human brain in vivo.
BACKGROUND: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a promising brain modulation technique for several disease conditions. With this technique, some portion of the current penetrates through the scalp to the cortex and modulates cortical excitability, but a recent human cadaver study questions the amount. This insufficient intracerebral penetration of currents may partially explain the inconsistent and mixed results in tDCS studies to date. Experimental validation of a transcranial alternating current stimulation-generated electric field (EF) in vivo has been performed on the cortical (using electrocorticography, ECoG, electrodes), subcortical (using stereo electroencephalography, SEEG, electrodes) and deeper thalamic/subthalamic levels (using DBS electrodes). However, tDCS-generated EF measurements have never been attempted. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to demonstrate that tDCS generates biologically relevant EF as deep as the subthalamic level in vivo. METHODS: Patients with movement disorders who have implanted deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes serve as a natural experimental model for thalamic/subthalamic recordings of tDCS-generated EF. We measured voltage changes from DBS electrodes and body resistance from tDCS electrodes in three subjects while applying direct current to the scalp at 2 mA and 4 mA over two tDCS montages. RESULTS: Voltage changes at the level of deep nuclei changed proportionally with the level of applied current and varied with different tDCS montages. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that scalp-applied tDCS generates biologically relevant EF. Incorporation of these experimental results may improve finite element analysis (FEA)-based models.
Chhatbar, PY; Kautz, SA; Takacs, I; Rowland, NC; Revuelta, GJ; George, MS; Bikson, M; Feng, W
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