Effects of transcranial alternating current stimulation on repetitive finger movements in healthy humans

Andrea Guerra, Matteo Bologna, Giulia Paparella, Antonio Suppa, Donato Colella, Vincenzo Di Lazzaro, Peter Brown, Alfredo Berardelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) is a noninvasive neurophysiological technique that can entrain brain oscillations. Only few studies have investigated the effects of tACS on voluntary movements. We aimed to verify whether tACS, delivered over M1 at beta and gamma frequencies, has any effect on repetitive finger tapping as assessed by means of kinematic analysis. Eighteen healthy subjects were enrolled. Objective measurements of repetitive finger tapping were obtained by using a motion analysis system. M1 excitability was assessed by using single-pulse TMS and measuring the amplitude of motor-evoked potentials (MEPs). Movement kinematic measures and MEPs were collected during beta, gamma, and sham tACS and when the stimulation was off. Beta tACS led to an amplitude decrement (i.e., progressive reduction in amplitude) across the first ten movements of the motor sequence while gamma tACS had the opposite effect. The results did not reveal any significant effect of tACS on other movement parameters, nor any changes in MEPs. These findings demonstrate that tACS modulates finger tapping in a frequency-dependent manner with no concurrent changes in corticospinal excitability. The results suggest that cortical beta and gamma oscillations are involved in the motor control of repetitive finger movements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4593095
JournalNeural Plasticity
Publication statusPublished - Jul 8 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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