Effect of Long-term tDCS on Glx and GABA

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Effect of Long-term Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Glx and GABA: A Pilot Study.

Previous studies have demonstrated that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) can enhance working memory. However, the mechanism underlying the long-term tDCS is still unclear. This pilot study aims to examine neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) and Glx (a measure of glutamate and glutamine combined) and working memory in response to the long-term anodal tDCS over dlPFC. Six healthy, right-handed young adults enrolled in this study received 2-mA anodal tDCS over dlPFC within 4 weeks. Long-term tDCS means that it was applied 5 times per week for the first two weeks and once for the last two weeks with 30 min each time. The other six participants were enrolled as the control group without stimulation for testing the baseline enhancement of working memory due to learning. The GABA and Glx levels were assessed by Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), while a 3-back task was performed to assess working memory. Data were collected at the beginning of the experiment, after two-week tDCS and at the end of the experiment. We found that the working memory was not significantly enhanced by the first two-week tDCS because the accuracy of response in 3-back was not significantly increased compared to the control group. Meanwhile, there were no significant changes in the levels of GABA. However, the Glx level was found significantly decreased in both 2- and 4-week MRS measurements. The observation that the long-term tDCS causes the decrease of excitatory neurotransmitters implies the different underlying mechanisms between the long-term tDCS and the single one.

PMID: 33018772 [PubMed – in process]

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2020 Jul;2020:3561-3564

Authors: Guan H, Zheng Y, Wang M, Zhang Y, Wang M, Chen W, Zhang S