Insight Into the Effects of Clinical Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on the Brain From Positron Emission Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies: A Narrative Review
Frontiers in Neuroscience
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been proposed as a therapeutic tool to alleviate symptoms for neurological and psychiatric diseases such as chronic pain, stroke, Parkinson's disease, major depressive disorder, and others. Although the therapeutic potential of rTMS has been widely explored, the neurological basis of its effects is still not fully understood. Fortunately, the continuous development of imaging techniques has advanced our understanding of rTMS
... underpinnings on the healthy and diseased brain. The objective of the current work is to summarize relevant findings from positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques evaluating rTMS effects. We included studies that investigated the modulation of neurotransmission (evaluated with PET and magnetic resonance spectroscopy), brain activity (evaluated with PET), resting-state connectivity (evaluated with resting-state functional MRI), and microstructure (diffusion tensor imaging). Overall, results from imaging studies suggest that the effects of rTMS are complex and involve multiple neurotransmission systems, regions, and networks. The effects of stimulation seem to not only be dependent in the frequency used, but also in the participants characteristics such as disease progression. In patient populations, pre-stimulation evaluation was reported to predict responsiveness to stimulation, while post-stimulation neuroimaging measurements showed to be correlated with symptomatic improvement. These studies demonstrate the complexity of rTMS effects and highlight the relevance of imaging techniques.