Does Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation Induce Cerebellum Plasticity? Feasibility, Safety and Efficacy of a Novel Electrophysiological Approach

Antonino Naro, Antonino Leo, Margherita Russo, Antonino Cannavò, Demetrio Milardi, Placido Bramanti, Rocco Salvatore Calabrò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Cerebellum-brain functional connectivity can be shaped through different non-invasive neurostimulation approaches. In this study, we propose a novel approach to perturb the cerebellum-brain functional connectivity by means of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS). Methods: Twenty-five healthy individuals underwent a cerebellar tACS protocol employing different frequencies (10, 50, and 300 Hz) and a sham-tACS over the right cerebellar hemisphere. We measured their after-effects on the motor evoked potential (MEP) amplitude, the cerebellum-brain inhibition (CBI), the long-latency intracortical inhibition (LICI), from the primary motor cortex of both the hemispheres. In addition, we assessed the functional adaptation to a right hand sequential tapping motor task. Results: None of the participants had any side-effect. Following 50 Hz-tACS, we observed a clear contralateral CBI weakening, paralleled by a MEP increase with a better adaptation to frequency variations during the sequential tapping. The 300 Hz-tACS induced a contralateral CBI strengthening, without significant MEP and kinematic after-effects. The 10 Hz-tACS conditioning was instead ineffective. Conclusions: We may argue that tACS protocols could have interfered with the activity of CBI-sustaining Purkinje cell, affecting motor adaptation. Our safe approach seems promising in studying the cerebellum-brain functional connectivity, with possible implications in neurorehabilitative settings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Stimulation
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016

Keywords

  • Cerebellum
  • Cerebellum-brain inhibition
  • Motor adaptation
  • Purkinje cell
  • Transcranial alternating current stimulation
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biophysics

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