Transcranial magnetic stimulation entrains alpha oscillatory activity in occipital cortex

Yong Jun Lin, Lavanya Shukla, Laura Dugué, Antoni Valero-Cabré, Marisa Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parieto-occipital alpha rhythms (8–12 Hz) underlie cortical excitability and influence visual performance. Whether the synchrony of intrinsic alpha rhythms in the occipital cortex can be entrained by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an open question. We applied 4-pulse, 10-Hz rhythmic TMS to entrain intrinsic alpha oscillators targeting right V1/V2, and tested four predictions with concurrent electroencephalogram (EEG): (1) progressive enhancement of entrainment across time windows, (2) output frequency specificity, (3) dependence on the intrinsic oscillation phase, and (4) input frequency specificity to individual alpha frequency (IAF) in the neural signatures. Two control conditions with an equal number of pulses and duration were arrhythmic-active and rhythmic-sham stimulation. The results confirmed the first three predictions. Rhythmic TMS bursts significantly entrained local neural activity. Near the stimulation site, evoked oscillation amplitude and inter-trial phase coherence (ITPC) were increased for 2 and 3 cycles, respectively, after the last TMS pulse. Critically, ITPC following entrainment positively correlated with IAF rather than with the degree of similarity between IAF and the input frequency (10 Hz). Thus, we entrained alpha-band activity in occipital cortex for ~ 3 cycles (~ 300 ms), and IAF predicts the strength of entrained occipital alpha phase synchrony indexed by ITPC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18562
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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