LTD-like plasticity of the human primary motor cortex can be reversed by γ-tACS

Andrea Guerra, Antonio Suppa, Francesco Asci, Giovanna De Marco, Valentina D'Onofrio, Matteo Bologna, Vincenzo Di Lazzaro, Alfredo Berardelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Cortical oscillatory activities play a role in regulating several brain functions in humans. However, whether motor resonant oscillations (i.e. β and γ) modulate long-term depression (LTD)-like plasticity of the primary motor cortex (M1) is still unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To address this issue, we combined transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), a technique able to entrain cortical oscillations, with continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS), a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) protocol commonly used to induce LTD-like plasticity in M1.

METHODS: Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited by single-pulse TMS, short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) and intracortical facilitation (ICF) were evaluated before and 5, 15 and 30 min after cTBS alone or cTBS delivered during β-tACS (cTBS-β) or γ-tACS (cTBS-γ). Moreover, we tested the effects of β-tACS (alone) on short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI) and γ-tACS on SICI in order to verify whether tACS-related interneuronal modulation contributes to the effects of tACS-cTBS co-stimulation.

RESULTS: cTBS-γ turned the expected after-effects of cTBS from inhibition to facilitation. By contrast, responses to cTBS-β were similar to those induced by cTBS alone. β- and γ-tACS did not change MEPs evoked by single-pulse TMS. β-tACS reduced SAI and γ-tACS reduced SICI. However, the degree of γ-tACS-induced modulation of SICI did not correlate with the effects of cTBS-γ.

CONCLUSION: γ-tACS reverses cTBS-induced plasticity of the human M1. γ-oscillations may therefore regulate LTD-like plasticity mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1490-1499
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 11 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'LTD-like plasticity of the human primary motor cortex can be reversed by γ-tACS'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this