Influence of iTBS on the Acute Neuroplastic Change After BCI Training


Ding Qian,Lin Tuo,Wu Manfeng,Yang Wenqing,Li Wanqi,Jing Yinghua,Ren Xiaoqing,Gong Yulai,Xu Guangqing,Lan Yue


Objective: Brain-computer interface (BCI) training is becoming increasingly popular in neurorehabilitation. However, around one third subjects have difficulties in controlling BCI devices effectively, which limits the application of BCI training. Furthermore, the effectiveness of BCI training is not satisfactory in stroke rehabilitation. Intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) is a powerful neural modulatory approach with strong facilitatory effects. Here, we investigated whether iTBS would improve BCI accuracy and boost the neuroplastic changes induced by BCI training.Methods: Eight right-handed healthy subjects (four males, age: 20–24) participated in this two-session study (BCI-only session and iTBS+BCI session in random order). Neuroplastic changes were measured by functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In BCI-only session, fNIRS was measured at baseline and immediately after BCI training. In iTBS+BCI session, BCI training was followed by iTBS delivered on the right primary motor cortex (M1). Single-pulse TMS was measured at baseline and immediately after iTBS. fNIRS was measured at baseline, immediately after iTBS, and immediately after BCI training. Paired-sample t-tests were used to compare amplitudes of motor-evoked potentials, cortical silent period duration, oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO2) concentration and functional connectivity across time points, and BCI accuracy between sessions.Results: No significant difference in BCI accuracy was detected between sessions (p > 0.05). In BCI-only session, functional connectivity matrices between motor cortex and prefrontal cortex were significantly increased after BCI training (p's < 0.05). In iTBS+BCI session, amplitudes of motor-evoked potentials were significantly increased after iTBS (p's < 0.05), but no change in HbO2 concentration or functional connectivity was observed throughout the whole session (p's > 0.05).Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study that investigated how iTBS targeted on M1 influences BCI accuracy and the acute neuroplastic changes after BCI training. Our results revealed that iTBS targeted on M1 did not influence BCI accuracy or facilitate the neuroplastic changes after BCI training. Therefore, M1 might not be an effective stimulation target of iTBS for the purpose of improving BCI accuracy or facilitate its effectiveness; other brain regions (i.e., prefrontal cortex) are needed to be further investigated as potentially effective stimulation targets.


Frontiers Media SA


Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience







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