This study investigates the effect of corticospinal excitability during sham stimulation on the individual response to transcranial non-invasive brain stimulation (tNIBS). Thirty healthy young adults aged 24.2 ± 2.8 S.D. participated in the study. Sham, as well as 1 mA of tRNS and 140 Hz tACS stimulation were applied for 10 min each at different sessions. The effect of each stimulation type was quantified by recording TMS-induced, motor evoked potentials (MEPs) before (baseline) and at fixed time points after stimulation (T0, T30, T60 min.). According to the individual response to sham stimulation at T0 in comparison to baseline MEPs, subjects were regarded as responder or non-responder to sham. Following, MEPs at T0, T30 and T60 after verum or sham stimulation were assessed with a repeated measures ANOVA with the within-subject factor stimulation (sham, tRNS, 140 Hz tACS) and the between-subjects factor group (responder vs non-responder). We found that individuals who did not show immediately changes in excitability in sham stimulation sessions were the ones who responded to active stimulation conditions. On the other hand, individuals who responded to sham condition, by either increases or decreases in MEPS, did not respond to active verum stimulation. This result suggests that the presence or lack of responses to sham stimulation can provide a marker for how individuals will respond to tRNS/tACS and thus provide an explanation for the variability in interindividual response. The results of this study draw attention to the general reactivity of the brain, which can be taken into account when planning future studies using tNIBS.
PMID:31482197 | DOI:10.1007/s00221-019-05640-w