Measuring the brain's response to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with electroencephalography (EEG) offers unique insights into the cortical circuits activated following stimulation, particularly in non-motor regions where less is known about TMS physiology. However, the mechanisms underlying TMS-evoked EEG potentials (TEPs) remain largely unknown. We assessed TEP sensitivity to changes in excitatory neurotransmission mediated by n-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors following stimulation of non-motor regions. In fourteen male volunteers, resting EEG and TEPs from prefrontal (PFC) and parietal (PAR) cortex were measured before and after administration of either dextromethorphan (NMDA receptor antagonist) or placebo across two sessions in a double-blinded pseudo-randomised crossover design. At baseline, there were amplitude differences between PFC and PAR TEPs across a wide time range (15-250 ms), however the signals were correlated after ~80 ms, suggesting early peaks reflect site-specific activity, whereas late peaks reflect activity patterns less dependent on the stimulated sites. Early TEP peaks were not reliably altered following dextromethorphan compared to placebo, although findings were less clear for later peaks, and low frequency resting oscillations were reduced in power. Our findings suggest that early TEP peaks (<80 ms) from PFC and PAR reflect stimulation site specific activity that is largely insensitive to changes in NMDA receptor-mediated neurotransmission.
ASJC Scopus subject areas