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Introducing graph theory to track for neuroplastic alterations in the resting human brain: a transcranial direct current stimulation study


Polanía, Rafael; Paulus, Walter; Antal, Andrea; Nitsche, Michael A (2011). Introducing graph theory to track for neuroplastic alterations in the resting human brain: a transcranial direct current stimulation study. NeuroImage, 54(3):2287-2296.

Abstract

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that alters cortical excitability and activity in a polarity-dependent way. Stimulation for a few minutes has been shown to induce plastic alterations of cortical excitability and to improve cognitive performance. These effects might be related to stimulation-induced alterations of functional cortical network connectivity. We aimed to investigate the impact of tDCS on cortical network function by functional connectivity and graph theoretical analysis of the BOLD fMRI spontaneous activity. fMRI resting-state datasets were acquired immediately before and after 10-min bipolar tDCS during rest, with the anode placed over the left primary motor cortex (M1) and the cathode over the contralateral frontopolar cortex. For each dataset, grey matter voxel-based synchronization matrices were calculated and thresholded to construct undirected graphs. Nodal connectivity degree and minimum path length maps were calculated and compared before and after tDCS. Nodal minimum path lengths significantly increased in the left somatomotor (SM1) cortex after anodal tDCS, which means that the number of direct functional connections from the left SM1 to topologically distant grey matter voxels significantly decreased. In contrast, functional coupling between premotor and superior parietal areas with the left SM1 significantly increased. Additionally, the nodal connectivity degree in the left posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) area as well as in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (right DLPFC) significantly increased. In summary, we provide initial support that tDCS-induced neuroplastic alterations might be related to functional connectivity changes in the human brain. Additionally, we propose our approach as a powerful method to track for neuroplastic changes in the human brain.

Abstract

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that alters cortical excitability and activity in a polarity-dependent way. Stimulation for a few minutes has been shown to induce plastic alterations of cortical excitability and to improve cognitive performance. These effects might be related to stimulation-induced alterations of functional cortical network connectivity. We aimed to investigate the impact of tDCS on cortical network function by functional connectivity and graph theoretical analysis of the BOLD fMRI spontaneous activity. fMRI resting-state datasets were acquired immediately before and after 10-min bipolar tDCS during rest, with the anode placed over the left primary motor cortex (M1) and the cathode over the contralateral frontopolar cortex. For each dataset, grey matter voxel-based synchronization matrices were calculated and thresholded to construct undirected graphs. Nodal connectivity degree and minimum path length maps were calculated and compared before and after tDCS. Nodal minimum path lengths significantly increased in the left somatomotor (SM1) cortex after anodal tDCS, which means that the number of direct functional connections from the left SM1 to topologically distant grey matter voxels significantly decreased. In contrast, functional coupling between premotor and superior parietal areas with the left SM1 significantly increased. Additionally, the nodal connectivity degree in the left posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) area as well as in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (right DLPFC) significantly increased. In summary, we provide initial support that tDCS-induced neuroplastic alterations might be related to functional connectivity changes in the human brain. Additionally, we propose our approach as a powerful method to track for neuroplastic changes in the human brain.

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92 citations in Web of Science®
98 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:12 Nov 2013 13:41
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:07
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8119
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.09.085
PubMed ID:20932916

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