Objective: This study was performed to elucidate whether transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the motor association cortex modifies the excitability of primary motor (M1) and somatosensory (S1) cortices via neuronal connectivity. Methods: Anodal, cathodal, and sham tDCS (1 mA) over the left motor association cortex was applied to 10 subjects for 15min using electrodes of two sizes (9 and 18cm2). Both motor evoked potentials (MEPs) and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) were recorded before, immediately after, and 15min after tDCS. Electrode positions were confirmed by overlaying them on MRI anatomical surface images of two individuals. Results: After applying anodal tDCS using the large electrode, amplitudes of MEP components significantly decreased, whereas those of early SEP components (N20 and P25) increase. Opposite effects were observed on MEPs and SEPs after cathodal tDCS. However, a small electrode did not significantly influence either MEPs or SEPs, irrespective of polarity. The small electrode covered mainly the dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) while the large electrode involved the supplementary motor area (SMA) in addition to PMd. Conclusions: These results suggest that anodal tDCS over PMd together with SMA enhanced the inhibitory input to M1 and excitatory input to S1, and that cathodal tDCS might lead to an opposite effect. Significance: The finding that only the large electrode modulated M1 and S1 implies that activation of PMd together with SMA by tDCS can induce plastic changes in primary sensorimotor areas.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems
- Clinical Neurology
- Physiology (medical)