Network remodeling induced by transcranial brain stimulation: A computational model of tDCS-triggered cell assembly formation

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Han LuStefan Rotter


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a variant of non-invasive neuromodulation, which promises treatment for brain diseases like major depressive disorder. In experiments, long-lasting aftereffects were observed, suggesting that persistent plastic changes are induced. The mechanism underlying the emergence of lasting aftereffects, however, remains elusive. Here we propose a model, which assumes that tDCS triggers a homeostatic response of the network involving growth and decay of synapses. The cortical tissue exposed to tDCS is conceived as a recurrent network of excitatory and inhibitory neurons, with synapses subject to homeostatically regulated structural plasticity. We systematically tested various aspects of stimulation, including electrode size and montage, as well as stimulation intensity and duration. Our results suggest that transcranial stimulation perturbs the homeostatic equilibrium and leads to a pronounced growth response of the network. The stimulated population eventually eliminates excitatory synapses with the unstimulated population, and new synapses among stimulated neurons are grown to form a cell assembly. Strong focal stimulation tends to enhance the connectivity within new cell assemblies, an...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Brain Diseases
Carcinoma in Situ
Cerebral Cortex
Mental Depression
Repetitive Nerve Stimulation
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Plant Development
Cell Assembly

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