Neuronavigated Cerebellar 50 Hz tACS: Attenuation of Stimulation Effects by Motor Sequence Learning
Cerebellar transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) is an emerging non-invasive technique that induces electric fields to modulate cerebellar function. Although the effect of cortical tACS seems to be state-dependent, the impact of concurrent motor activation and the duration of stimulation on the effects of cerebellar tACS has not yet been examined. In our study, 20 healthy subjects received neuronavigated 50 Hz cerebellar tACS for 40 s or 20 min, each during performance using a motor sequence learning task (MSL) and at rest. We measured the motor evoked potential (MEP) before and at two time points after tACS application to assess corticospinal excitability. Additionally, we investigated the online effect of tACS on MSL. Individual electric field simulations were computed to evaluate the distribution of electric fields, showing a focal electric field in the right cerebellar hemisphere with the highest intensities in lobe VIIb, VIII and IX. Corticospinal excitability was only increased after tACS was applied for 40 s or 20 min at rest, and motor activation during tACS (MSL) cancelled this effect. In addition, performance was better (shorter reaction times) for the learned sequences after 20 min of tACS, indicating more pronounced learning under 20 min of tACS compared to tACS applied only in the first 40 s.