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Reduction of somatosensory functional connectivity by transcranial alternating current stimulation at endogenous mu-frequency

MPS-Authors
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Gundlach,  Christopher
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Institute of Psychology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Hoff,  Maike
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Ragert,  Patrick
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Institute of General Kinesiology and Athletics Training, Faculty of Sport Science, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Nierhaus,  Till
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Neurocomputation and Neuroimaging Unit, FU Berlin, Germany;

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Villringer,  Arno
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
MindBrainBody Institute, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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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;
University Hospital, Halle/Saale, Germany;

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Gundlach_Mueller_2020.pdf
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Citation

Gundlach, C., Müller, M. M., Hoff, M., Ragert, P., Nierhaus, T., Villringer, A., et al. (2020). Reduction of somatosensory functional connectivity by transcranial alternating current stimulation at endogenous mu-frequency. NeuroImage, 221: 117175. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117175.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-D3DD-3
Abstract
Alpha, the most prominent human brain rhythm, might reflect a mechanism of functional inhibition for gating neural processing. This concept has been derived predominantly from local measures of inhibition, while large-scale network mechanisms to guide information flow are largely unknown. Here, we investigated functional connectivity changes on a whole-brain level by concurrent transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) and resting-state functional MRI in humans. We specifically focused on somatosensory alpha-band oscillations by adjusting the tACS frequency to each individual´s somatosensory (mu-) alpha peak frequency (mu-tACS). Potential differences of Eigenvector Centrality of primary somatosensory cortex (S1) as well as on a whole brain level between mu-tACS and sham were analyzed. Our results demonstrate that mu-tACS induces a locally-specific decrease in whole-brain functional connectivity of left S1. An additional exploratory analysis revealed that this effect primarily depends on a decrease in functional connectivity between S1 and a network of regions that are crucially involved in somatosensory processing. Furthermore, the decrease in functional centrality was specific to mu-tACS and was not observed when tACS was applied in the gamma-range in an independent study. Our findings provide evidence that modulated somatosensory (mu-) alpha-activity may affect whole-brain network level activity by decoupling primary sensory areas from other hubs involved in sensory processing.