March 3, 2021

Spike-timing-dependent plasticity can account for aftereffects of dual-site transcranial alternating current stimulation

Background: Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), applied to two brain sites with different phase lags, has been shown to modulate stimulation-outlasting functional connectivity between the targeted regions. Objective: Here, we test if spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) can explain stimulation-outlasting connectivity modulation by dual-site tACS and explore the effects of tACS parameter choices. Methods: Networks with two populations of spiking neurons were simulated. Synapses between the populations were subject to STDP. We re-analyzed resting-state EEG data to validate the model. Results: Simulations showed stimulation-outlasting connectivity changes between in- and anti-phase tACS, dependent on both tACS frequency and conduction delays. Importantly, the model predicted that the largest effects would occur for short conduction delays between the stimulated regions, which agreed with experimental EEG connectivity modulation by 10Hz tACS. Conclusions: STDP can explain connectivity aftereffects of dual-site tACS. However, not all combinations of tACS frequency and application sites are expected to effectively modulate connectivity via STDP. We therefore suggest using appropriate computational models and/or EEG analysis for planning and interpretation of dual-site tACS studies relying on aftereffects.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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