Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Reduces Psychophysically Measured Surround Suppression in the Human Visual Cortex

Daniel P. Spiegel, Bruce C. Hansen, Winston D. Byblow, Benjamin Thompson, Hans O. p. de Beeck
2012 PLoS ONE  
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a safe, non-invasive technique for transiently modulating the balance of excitation and inhibition within the human brain. It has been reported that anodal tDCS can reduce both GABA mediated inhibition and GABA concentration within the human motor cortex. As GABA mediated inhibition is thought to be a key modulator of plasticity within the adult brain, these findings have broad implications for the future use of tDCS. It is important, therefore,
more » ... to establish whether tDCS can exert similar effects within non-motor brain areas. The aim of this study was to assess whether anodal tDCS could reduce inhibitory interactions within the human visual cortex. Psychophysical measures of surround suppression were used as an index of inhibition within V1. Overlay suppression, which is thought to originate within the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), was also measured as a control. Anodal stimulation of the occipital poles significantly reduced psychophysical surround suppression, but had no effect on overlay suppression. This effect was specific to anodal stimulation as cathodal stimulation had no effect on either measure. These psychophysical results provide the first evidence for tDCS-induced reductions of intracortical inhibition within the human visual cortex.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036220 pmid:22563485 pmcid:PMC3341359 fatcat:4roghoeenng63h4adstmgfzalq