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Subthreshold repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation drives structural synaptic plasticity in the young and aged motor cortex


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Tang, AD, Bennett, W ORCID: 0000-0002-1559-3027, Bindoff, AD ORCID: 0000-0002-0943-2702, Bolland, S, Collins, J ORCID: 0000-0002-1938-2470, Langley, RC, Garry, MI ORCID: 0000-0002-5113-0986, Summers, JJ, Hinder, MR ORCID: 0000-0002-5240-4790, Rodger, J and Canty, AJ ORCID: 0000-0001-5165-2365 2021 , 'Subthreshold repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation drives structural synaptic plasticity in the young and aged motor cortex' , Brain Stimulation, vol. 14 , pp. 1498-1507 , doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2021.10.001.

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Background: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive tool commonly usedto drive neural plasticity in the young adult and aged brain. Recent data from mouse models have shownthat even at subthreshold intensities (0.12 T), rTMS can drive neuronal and glial plasticity in the motorcortex. However, the physiological mechanisms underlying subthreshold rTMS induced plasticity andwhether these are altered with normal ageing are unclear.Objective: To assess the effect of subthreshold rTMS, using the intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS)protocol on structural synaptic plasticity in the mouse motor cortex of young and aged mice.Methods: Longitudinal in vivo 2-photon microscopy was used to measure changes to the structuralplasticity of pyramidal neuron dendritic spines in the motor cortex following a single train of subthreshold rTMS (in young adult and aged animals) or the same rTMS train administered on 4 consecutivedays (in young adult animals only). Data were analysed with Bayesian hierarchical generalized linearregression models and interpreted with the aid of Bayes Factors (BF).Results: We found strong evidence (BF > 10) that subthreshold rTMS altered the rate of dendritic spinelosses and gains, dependent on the number of stimulation sessions and that a single session of subthreshold rTMS was effective in driving structural synaptic plasticity in both young adult and aged mice.Conclusion: These findings provide further evidence that rTMS drives synaptic plasticity in the brain anduncovers structural synaptic plasticity as a key mechanism of subthreshold rTMS induced plasticity.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Tang, AD and Bennett, W and Bindoff, AD and Bolland, S and Collins, J and Langley, RC and Garry, MI and Summers, JJ and Hinder, MR and Rodger, J and Canty, AJ
Keywords: plasticity, ageing, brain stimulation, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, intermittent theta burst stimulation, structural synaptic plasticity, motor cortex ageing
Journal or Publication Title: Brain Stimulation
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.
ISSN: 1935-861X
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.brs.2021.10.001
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© 2021 Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license (

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