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Dynamic modulation of intrinsic functional connectivity by transcranial direct current stimulation

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Sehm,  Bernhard
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Schäfer,  Alexander
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Kipping,  Judy
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Margulies,  Daniel S.
Max Planck Research Group Neuroanatomy and Connectivity, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Conde,  Virginia
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Taubert,  Marco
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Villringer,  Arno
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Ragert,  Patrick
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Sehm, B., Schäfer, A., Kipping, J., Margulies, D. S., Conde, V., Taubert, M., et al. (2012). Dynamic modulation of intrinsic functional connectivity by transcranial direct current stimulation. Journal of Neurophysiology, 108(12), 3253-3263. doi:10.1152/jn.00606.2012.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-EDB8-6
Abstract
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique capable of modulating cortical excitability and thereby influencing behavior and learning. Recent evidence suggests that bilateral tDCS over both primary sensorimotor cortices (SM1) yields more prominent effects on motor performance in both healthy subjects and chronic stroke patients than unilateral tDCS over SM1. To better characterize the underlying neural mechanisms of this effect, we aimed to explore changes in resting-state functional connectivity during both stimulation types. In a randomized single-blinded cross-over design, 12 healthy subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging at rest before, during and after 20 minutes of uni-, bilateral tDCS and sham stimulation over SM1. Eigenvector centrality mapping (ECM) was used to investigate tDCS-induced changes in functional connectivity patterns across the whole brain. Uni- and bilateral tDCS over SM1 resulted in functional connectivity changes in widespread brain areas as compared to sham both during and after stimulation. Whereas bilateral tDCS predominantly modulated changes in primary and secondary motor as well as prefrontal regions, unilateral tDCS affected prefrontal, parietal and cerebellar areas. No direct effect was seen under the stimulating electrode in the unilateral condition. The time course of changes in functional connectivity in the respective brain areas was non-linear and temporally dispersed. These findings provide evidence towards a network-based understanding regarding the underpinnings of specific tDCS interventions.