BOLD signal effects of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) in the alpha range: A concurrent tACS-fMRI study
PURPOSE Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was reintroduced about a decade ago as a tool for inducing long-lasting changes in cortical excitability. Recently it has been shown that both motor and cognitive functions can be influenced by tDCS. Here, we tested the effect of tDCS on the blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal evoked by coherent visual motion using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). METHODS The subjects underwent 10 min of cathodal and sham tDCS, applied over the right MT+. Following stimulation, random dot kinomatograms (RDK) with different percentages (10%, 30%, 50%) of coherently moving dots were presented. RESULTS All motion stimuli activated MT+ in both stimulation conditions. However, cathodal stimulation led to an increase in fMRI signal in MT+ when compared to sham stimulation. This effect did not depend on the coherence level of the visual stimulus. CONCLUSIONS Here, we show for the first time, that cathodal tDCS stimulation leads to elevated fMRI signal in the human visual cortex.