The Effects of Intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation on Functional Brain Network Following Stroke: An Electroencephalography Study


Ding Qian,Zhang Shunxi,Chen Songbin,Chen Jixiang,Li Xiaotong,Chen Junhui,Peng Yuan,Chen Yujie,Chen Kang,Cai Guiyuan,Xu Guangqing,Lan Yue


Objective: Intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) is a special form of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which effectively increases cortical excitability and has been widely used as a neural modulation approach in stroke rehabilitation. As effects of iTBS are typically investigated by motor evoked potentials, how iTBS influences functional brain network following stroke remains unclear. Resting-state electroencephalography (EEG) has been suggested to be a sensitive measure for evaluating effects of rTMS on brain functional activity and network. Here, we used resting-state EEG to investigate the effects of iTBS on functional brain network in stroke survivors.Methods: We studied thirty stroke survivors (age: 63.1 ± 12.1 years; chronicity: 4.0 ± 3.8 months; UE FMA: 26.6 ± 19.4/66) with upper limb motor dysfunction. Stroke survivors were randomly divided into two groups receiving either Active or Sham iTBS over the ipsilesional primary motor cortex. Resting-state EEG was recorded at baseline and immediately after iTBS to assess the effects of iTBS on functional brain network.Results: Delta and theta bands interhemispheric functional connectivity were significantly increased after Active iTBS (P = 0.038 and 0.011, respectively), but were not significantly changed after Sham iTBS (P = 0.327 and 0.342, respectively). Delta and beta bands global efficiency were also significantly increased after Active iTBS (P = 0.013 and 0.0003, respectively), but not after Sham iTBS (P = 0.586 and 0.954, respectively).Conclusion: This is the first study that used EEG to investigate the acute neuroplastic changes after iTBS following stroke. Our findings for the first time provide evidence that iTBS modulates brain network functioning in stroke survivors. Acute increase in interhemispheric functional connectivity and global efficiency after iTBS suggest that iTBS has the potential to normalize brain network functioning following stroke, which can be utilized in stroke rehabilitation.


Frontiers Media SA


General Neuroscience

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