Excitatory and inhibitory lateral interactions effects on contrast detection are modulated by tRNS.

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Excitatory and inhibitory lateral interactions effects on contrast detection are modulated by tRNS.

Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 17;9(1):19274

Authors: Battaglini L, Contemori G, Fertonani A, Miniussi C, Coccaro A, Casco C

Abstract
Contrast sensitivity for a Gabor signal is affected by collinear high-contrast Gabor flankers. The flankers reduce (inhibitory effect) or increase (facilitatory effect) sensitivity, at short (2λ) and intermediate (6λ) target-to-flanker separation respectively. We investigated whether these inhibitory/facilitatory sensitivity effects are modulated by transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) applied to the occipital and frontal cortex of human observers during task performance. Signal detection theory was used to measure sensitivity (d’) and the Criterion (C) in a contrast detection task, performed with sham or tRNS applied over the occipital or the frontal cortex. After occipital stimulation results show a tRNS-dependent increased sensitivity for the single Gabor signal of low but not high contrast. Moreover, results suggest a dissociation of the tRNS effect when the Gabor signal is presented with the flankers, consisting in a general increased sensitivity at 2λ where the flankers had an inhibitory effect (reduction of inhibition) and a decreased sensitivity at 6λ where the flankers had a facilitatory effect on the Gabor signal (reduction of facilitation). After a frontal stimulation, no specific effect of the tRNS was found. We account for these complex interactions between tRNS and flankers by assuming that tRNS not only enhances feedforward input from the Gabor signal to the cortex, but also enhances the excitatory or inhibitory lateral intracortical input from the flankers. The boosted lateral input depends on the excitation-inhibition (E/I) ratio, namely when the lateral input is weak, it is boosted by tRNS with consequent modification of the contrast-dependent E/I ratio.

PMID: 31848412 [PubMed – in process]

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