Functional Dopaminergic Neurons in Substantia Nigra are Required for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation-Induced Motor Plasticity

Tsung-hsun Hsieh, Ying Zu Huang, Alexander Rotenberg, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Yung-Hsiao Chiang, Jia-Yi Wang, Jia Jin Jason Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Repetitive magnetic stimulation (rTMS), including theta burst stimulation (TBS), is capable of modulating motor cortical excitability through plasticity-like mechanisms and might have therapeutic potential for Parkinson's disease (PD). An animal model would be helpful for elucidating the mechanism of rTMS that remain unclear and controversial. Here, we have established a TMS model in rat and applied this model to study the impact of substantia nigra dopamine neuron on TBS-induced motor plasticity in PD rats. In parallel with human results, continuous TBS (cTBS) successfully suppressed motor evoked potentials (MEPs), while MEPs increased after intermittent TBS (iTBS) in healthy rats. We then tested the effect of iTBS in early and advanced 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned PD. Moreover, dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra and rotation behavior were assessed to correlate with the amount of iTBS-induced plasticity. In results, iTBS-induced potentiation was reduced in early PD rats and was absent in advanced PD rats. Such reduction in plasticity strongly correlated with the dopaminergic cell loss and the count of rotation in PD rats. In conclusion, we have established a TMS PD rat model. With the help of this model, we confirmed the loss of domaninergic neurons in substantia nigra resulting in reduced rTMS-induced motor plasticity in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1806-1814
Number of pages9
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2015



  • 6-OHDA
  • motor evoked potential
  • Parkinson's disease
  • rat
  • theta burst stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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