Electrophysiological analysis of transcranial direct current stimulation and its effect on cortical spreading depression
Chang, Andrew Stanford
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Transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) allows for the noninvasive modulation of cortical activity. In this study, the effects of cathodal and anodal TDCS treatment on baseline activity in the motor cortex of rats were investigated via translaminar electroencephalogram (EEG) recording and power spectral density analysis. Treatment with low intensity anodal TDCS for five minutes was found to increase delta and theta frequency cortical activity during and for up to five minutes following treatment. This study also assessed the interaction of TDCS with the phenomenon of cortical spreading depression (CoSD), which has been implicated in numerous disease states, including migraine and stroke. TDCS treatment was given concurrently with induction of CoSD via administration of potassium chloride to the surface of the dura. The presence of the spreading depression event, a characteristic low frequency wave observed to travel outwards from the point of CoSD induction and downwards through the cortex, was used as a proxy measure for the occurrence of CoSD. It was observed that animals treated with cathodal TDCS exhibited fewer spreading depression events relative to those treated with anodal TDCS or those receiving sham treatment. In this study, animals were segregated into groups that exhibited stimulus artifact during TDCS treatment and those that did not. Stimulus artifact was defined as a characteristic alpha and/or beta frequency activity spike lasting throughout and not longer than the period of stimulation. Those animals receiving TDCS without exhibiting stimulus artifact were considered for the purposes of this study to not have received proper TDCS treatment, and acted as a sham treatment group. Because salient differences emerged between the stimulus artifact positive and stimulus artifact negative groups, this study suggests that the presence of stimulus artifact could be used as a proxy measure for successful TDCS dosage.