New Paper: Non-invasive modulation reduces repetitive behavior in a rat model through the sensorimotor cortico-striatal circuit

Callesen H, Habelt B, Wieske F, Jackson M, Khadka N, Mattei D, Bernhardt N, Heinz A, Liebetanz D, Bikson M, Padberg F, Hadar R, Nitsche MA, Winter C

Download: PDF published in Nature Translational Psychiatry – DOI


Involuntary movements as seen in repetitive disorders such as Tourette Syndrome (TS) results from cortical hyperexcitability that arise due to striato-thalamo-cortical circuit (STC) imbalance. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a stimulation procedure that changes cortical excitability, yet its relevance in repetitive disorders such as TS remains largely unexplored. Here, we employed the dopamine transporter-overexpressing (DAT-tg) rat model to investigate behavioral and neurobiological effects of frontal tDCS. The outcome of tDCS was pathology dependent, as anodal tDCS decreased repetitive behavior in the DAT-tg rats yet increased it in wild-type (wt) rats. Extensive deep brain stimulation (DBS) application and computational modeling assigned the response in DAT-tg rats to the sensorimotor pathway. Neurobiological assessment revealed cortical activity changes and increase in striatal inhibitory properties in the DAT-tg rats. Our findings show that tDCS reduces repetitive behavior in the DAT-tg rat through modulation of the sensorimotor STC circuit. This sets the stage for further investigating the usage of tDCS in repetitive disorders such as TS.

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Neural Engineering