Safety aspects of prolonged chronic low-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation: evaluation of reactive gliosis and histopathology
Paskus, Jeremiah David
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Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive technique used to modulate cortical excitability of excitatory and inhibitory neural networks, the effects of which often outlast initial application. Although rTMS is used both clinically and experimentally, the potential deleterious consequences, especially when delivered chronically, remain unclear and its safety is still largely unknown. Our current study evaluates the effects of prolonged chronic low-frequency rTMS on the immunoreactivity of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba1) for the assessment of glial activation in a feline model of rTMS facilitated visuospatial neglect recovery. Conscious subjects were treated daily with 1 Hz rTMS (60% machine output) for 20' over the course of 14 weeks. In comparison with control animals receiving sham treatment, quantitative analysis of protein concentrations by optical density revealed no significant alterations in localized GFAP levels following chronic 1Hz rTMS. Iba1 visualization was unattained resulting presumably from inadequacies with species cross-reactivity of primary antibodies. Visual assessment of morphology showed no alterations typically associated with histopathology or indications of glial proliferation. These results suggest that extensive low-frequency rTMS does not induce reactive gliosis or gross histopathology, affording continued evidence for the safety of rTMS.
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