Resting state functional connectivity measures correlate with the response to anodal transcranial direct current stimulation

Brenton Hordacre, Bahar Moezzi, Mitchell R. Goldsworthy, Nigel C. Rogasch, Lynton J. Graetz, Michael C. Ridding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Responses to non-invasive brain stimulation are highly variable between subjects. Resting state functional connectivity was investigated as a marker of plasticity induced by anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Twenty-six healthy adults (15 male, 26.4 ± 6.5 years) were tested. Experiment 1 investigated whether functional connectivity could predict modulation of corticospinal excitability following anodal tDCS. Experiment 2 determined test–retest reliability of connectivity measures. Three minutes of electroencephalography was recorded and connectivity was quantified with the debiased weighted phase lag index. Anodal (1 mA, 20 min) or sham tDCS was applied to the left primary motor cortex (M1), with a change in motor evoked potential amplitude recorded from the right first dorsal interosseous used as a marker of tDCS response. Connectivity in the high beta frequency (20–30 Hz) between an electrode approximating the left M1 (C3) and electrodes overlying the left parietal cortex was a strong predictor of tDCS response (cross-validated R2 = 0.69). Similar relationships were observed for alpha (8–13 Hz; R2 = 0.64), theta (4–7 Hz; R2 = 0.53), and low beta (14–19 Hz; R2 = 0.58) frequencies, however, test–retest reliability of connectivity measures was strongest for the high beta frequency model (ICC = 0.65; good reliability). Further investigation of the high beta model found that greater connectivity between C3 and a cluster of electrodes approximately overlying the left parietal cortex was associated with stronger responses to anodal (rho = 0.61, P = 0.03), but not sham tDCS (rho = 0.43, P = 0.14). Functional connectivity is a strong predictor of the neuroplastic response to tDCS and may be one important characteristic to assist targeted tDCS application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-845
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • electroencephalography
  • motor cortex
  • partial least squares
  • plasticity
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this