Transcranial current stimulation (tCS) techniques have been shown to induce cortical plasticity. As an important relay in the motor system, the cerebellum is an interesting target for plasticity induction using tCS, aiming to modulate its excitability and connectivity. However, until now it remains unclear, which is the most effective tCS method for inducing plasticity in the cerebellum. Thus, in this study, the effects of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), 50 Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (50 Hz tACS), and high frequency transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) were compared with sham stimulation in 20 healthy subjects in a within-subject design. tCS was applied targeting the cerebellar lobe VIIIA using neuronavigation. We measured corticospinal excitability, short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI), short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI), and cerebellar brain inhibition (CBI) and performed a sensor-based movement analysis at baseline and three times after the intervention (post1 = 15 min; post2 = 55 min; post3 = 95 min). Corticospinal excitability increased following cerebellar tACS and tRNS compared to sham stimulation. This effect was most pronounced directly after stimulation but lasted for at least 55 min after tACS. Cortico-cortical and cerebello-cortical conditioning protocols, as well as sensor-based movement analyses, did not change. Our findings suggest that cerebellar 50 Hz tACS is the most effective protocol to change corticospinal excitability.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright: Copyright © 2022 Herzog, Berger, Pauly, Xue, Rueckert, Münchau, Bäumer and Weissbach.