Anodal transcranial pulsed current stimulation: A novel technique to enhance corticospinal excitability Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:We aimed to compare the effects of anodal-transcranial pulsed current stimulation (a-tPCS) with conventional anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) on corticospinal excitability (CSE) in healthy individuals. METHODS:CSE of the dominant primary motor cortex of the resting right extensor carpi radialis muscle was assessed before, immediately, 10, 20 and 30min after application of four experimental conditions: (1) a-tDCS, (2) a-tPCS with short inter-pulse interval (a-tPCSSIPI, 50ms), (3) a-tPCS with long inter-pulse interval (a-tPCSLIPI., 650ms) and (4) sham a-tPCS. The total charges were kept constant in all experimental conditions except sham condition. The outcome measure in this study was motor evoked potentials. RESULTS:Only a-tDCS and a-tPCSSIPI (P<0.05) induced significant increases in CSE, lasted for at least 30min. Post-hoc tests indicated that this increase was larger in a-tPCSSIPI (P<0.05). There were no significant changes following application of a-tPCSLIPI and sham a-tPCS. All participants tolerated the applied currents in all experimental conditions very well. CONCLUSIONS:Compared to a-tDCS, a-tPCSSIPI is a better technique for enhancement of CSE. There were no sham effects for application of a-tPCS. However, unlike a-tDCS which modifies neuronal excitability by tonic depolarization of the resting membrane potential, a-tPCS modifies neuronal excitability by a combination of tonic and phasic effects. SIGNIFICANCE:a-tPCS could be considered as a promising neuromodulatory tool in basic neuroscience and as a therapeutic technique in neurorehabilitation.

publication date

  • 2014