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Journal Article

Chronometric TMS-fMRI of personalized left dorsolateral prefrontal target reveals state-dependency of subgenual anterior cingulate cortex effects


Schuler,  Anna-Lisa       
Lise Meitner Research Group Cognition and Plasticity, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Grosshagauer, S., Woletz, M., Vasileiadi, M., Linhardt, D., Nohava, L., Schuler, A.-L., et al. (2024). Chronometric TMS-fMRI of personalized left dorsolateral prefrontal target reveals state-dependency of subgenual anterior cingulate cortex effects. Molecular Psychiatry. doi:10.1038/s41380-024-02535-3.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-19A9-7
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) applied to a left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) area with a specific connectivity profile to the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) has emerged as a highly effective non-invasive treatment option for depression. However, antidepressant outcomes demonstrate significant variability among therapy plans and individuals. One overlooked contributing factor is the individual brain state at the time of treatment. In this study we used interleaved TMS-fMRI to investigate the influence of brain state on acute TMS effects, both locally and remotely. TMS was performed during rest and during different phases of cognitive task processing. Twenty healthy participants were included in this study. In the first session, imaging data for TMS targeting were acquired, allowing for identification of individualized targets in the left DLPFC based on highest anti-correlation with the sgACC. The second session involved chronometric interleaved TMS-fMRI measurements, with 10 Hz triplets of TMS administered during rest and at distinct timings during an N-back task. Consistent with prior findings, interleaved TMS-fMRI revealed significant BOLD activation changes in the targeted network. The precise timing of TMS relative to the cognitive states during the task demonstrated distinct BOLD response in clinically relevant brain regions, including the sgACC. Employing a standardized timing approach for TMS using a task revealed more consistent modulation of the sgACC at the group level compared to stimulation during rest. In conclusion, our findings strongly suggest that acute local and remote effects of TMS are influenced by brain state during stimulation. This study establishes a basis for considering brain state as a significant factor in designing treatment protocols, possibly improving TMS treatment outcomes.