January 17, 2021

Bifocal tACS Enhances Visual Motion Discrimination by Modulating Phase Amplitude Coupling Between V1 and V5 Regions

Visual motion discrimination involves reciprocal interactions in the alpha band between the primary visual cortex (V1) and the mediotemporal area (V5/MT). We investigated whether modulating alpha phase synchronization using individualized multisite transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) over V5 and V1 regions would improve motion discrimination. We tested 3 groups of healthy subjects: 1) an individualized In-Phase V1alpha-V5alpha tACS (0{degrees} lag) group, 2) an individualized Anti-Phase V1alpha-V5alpha tACS (180{degrees} lag) group and 3) a sham tACS group. Motion discrimination and EEG activity were compared before, during and after tACS. Performance significantly improved in the Anti-Phase group compared to that in the In-Phase group at 10 and 30 minutes after stimulation. This result could be explained by changes in bottom-up alpha-V1 gamma-V5 phase-amplitude coupling. Thus, Anti-Phase V1alpha-V5alpha tACS might impose an optimal phase lag between stimulation sites due to the inherent speed of wave propagation, hereby supporting optimized neuronal communication.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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