Changes in the synaptic strength of neural connections are induced by repeated coupling of activity of interconnected neurons with precise timing, a phenomenon known as spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP). It is debated if this mechanism exists in large-scale cortical networks in humans. We combined transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with concurrent electroencephalography (EEG) to directly investigate the effects of two paired associative stimulation (PAS) protocols (fronto-parietal and parieto-frontal) of pre and post-synaptic inputs within the human fronto-parietal network. We found evidence that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) has the potential to form robust STDP. Long-term potentiation/depression of TMS-evoked cortical activity is prompted after that DLPFC stimulation is followed/preceded by posterior parietal stimulation. Such bidirectional changes are paralleled by sustained increase/decrease of high-frequency oscillatory activity, likely reflecting STDP responsivity. The current findings could be important to drive plasticity of damaged cortical circuits in patients with cognitive or psychiatric disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience