Effects of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation on the Primary Motor Cortex by Online Combined Approach with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) is a neuromodulatory technique able to act through sinusoidal electrical waveforms in a specific frequency and in turn modulate ongoing cortical oscillatory activity. This neurotool allows the establishment of a causal link between endogenous oscillatory activity and behavior. Most of the tACS studies have shown online effects of tACS. However, little is known about the underlying action mechanisms of this technique because of the AC-induced artifacts on Electroencephalography (EEG) signals. Here we show a unique approach to investigate online physiological frequency-specific effects of tACS of the primary motor cortex (M1) by using single pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to probe cortical excitability changes. In our setup, the TMS coil is placed over the tACS electrode while Motor Evoked Potentials (MEPs) are collected to test the effects of the ongoing M1-tACS. So far, this approach has mainly been used to study the visual and motor systems. However, the current tACS-TMS setup can pave the way for future investigations of cognitive functions. Therefore, we provide a step-by-step manual and video guidelines for the procedure.