Hemispatial neglect is thought to result from disruption of interhemispheric equilibrium. Right hemisphere lesions deactivate the right frontoparietal network and hyperactivate the left via release from interhemispheric inhibition. Support for this theory comes from neuropsychological evidence as well as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) studies in healthy subjects, in whom right posterior parietal cortex (PPC) inhibition causes neglect-like, rightward, visuospatial bias. Concurrent TMS and fMRI after right PPC TMS show task-dependent changes but may fail to identify effects of stimulation in areas not directly activated by the specific task, complicating interpretations. We used resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) after inhibitory TMS over the right PPC to examine changes in the networks underlying visuospatial attention.
In a crossover experiment in healthy individuals, we delivered continuous theta burst TMS to the right PPC and vertex as control condition. We hypothesized that PPC inhibitory stimulation would cause a rightward visuospatial bias, decrease PPC connectivity with frontal areas, and increase PPC connectivity with the attentional network in the left hemisphere. We also expected that individual differences in fractional anisotropy (FA) in white matter connections between the PPCs would account for variability in TMS-induced RSFC changes.
As expected, TMS over the right PPC caused a rightward shift in line bisection judgment and increased RSFC between the right PPC and the left superior temporal gyrus. This effect was inversely related to FA in the posterior corpus callosum. Local inhibition of the right PPC reshapes connectivity in the attentional network and depends on interhemispheric connections.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience