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In vivo assessment of human visual system connectivity with transcranial electrical stimulation during functional magnetic resonance imaging



In vivo assessment of human visual system connectivity with transcranial electrical stimulation during functional magnetic resonance imaging



Neuroimage 14(2): 366-375



Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to investigate local and distant cerebral activation induced by transcranial electrical stimulation in order to noninvasively map functional connectivity in the human visual system. Stimulation with lateromedially directed currents and the anode 4.5 cm dorsally to the inion over the right visual cortex induced phosphenes extending into the contralateral lower quadrant of the visual field. fMRI showed a focal hemodynamic response underneath the anode in extrastriate cortex and distant coactivation in subcortical (lateral geniculate nucleus), cortical visual (striate and extrastriate), and visuomotor areas (frontal and supplementary eye fields). This pattern of activation resembles a network of presumably interconnected visual and visuomotor areas. Analysis of activation sites supplies new information about cerebral correlates of phosphenes and shows that the cortical region underneath the cranial stimulation site is not necessarily the origin of behavioral and/or perceptual effects of transcranial stimulation. We conclude that combining transcranial electrical stimulation of neural tissue with simultaneous fMRI offers the possibility to study noninvasively cerebral connectivity in the human brain.

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Accession: 010816439

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 11467910

DOI: 10.1006/nimg.2001.0847


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