Online Left-Hemispheric In-Phase Frontoparietal Theta tACS Modulates Theta-Band EEG Source-Based Large-Scale Functional Network Connectivity in Patients with Schizophrenia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Sham-Controlled Clinical Trial

Ta Chuan Yeh, Cathy Chia Yu Huang, Yong An Chung, Sonya Youngju Park, Jooyeon Jamie Im, Yen Yue Lin, Chin Chao Ma, Nian Sheng Tzeng, Hsin An Chang

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1 Scopus citations

Abstract

EEG studies indicated that schizophrenia patients had increased resting-state theta-band functional connectivity, which was associated with negative symptoms. We recently published the first study showing that theta (6 Hz) transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) over left prefrontal and parietal cortices during a working memory task for accentuating frontoparietal theta-band synchronization (in-phase theta-tACS) reduced negative symptoms in schizophrenia patients. Here, we hypothesized that in-phase theta-tACS can modulate theta-band large-scale networks connectivity in schizophrenia patients. In this randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial, patients received twice-daily, 2 mA, 20-min sessions of in-phase theta-tACS for 5 consecutive weekdays (n = 18) or a sham stimulation (n = 18). Resting-state electroencephalography data were collected at baseline, end of stimulation, and at one-week follow-up. Exact low resolution electromagnetic tomography (eLORETA) was used to compute intra-cortical activity. Lagged phase synchronization (LPS) was used to measure whole-brain source-based functional connectivity across 84 cortical regions at theta frequency (5–7 Hz). EEG data from 35 patients were analyzed. We found that in-phase theta-tACS significantly reduced the LPS between the posterior cingulate (PC) and the parahippocampal gyrus (PHG) in the right hemisphere only at the end of stimulation relative to sham (p = 0.0009, corrected). The reduction in right hemispheric PC-PHG LPS was significantly correlated with negative symptom improvement at the end of the stimulation (r = 0.503, p = 0.039). Our findings suggest that in-phase theta-tACS can modulate theta-band large-scale functional connectivity pertaining to negative symptoms. Considering the failure of right hemispheric PC-PHG functional connectivity to predict improvement in negative symptoms at one-week follow-up, future studies should investigate whether it can serve as a surrogate of treatment response to theta-tACS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number630
JournalBiomedicines
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • electroencephalography
  • frontoparietal theta coupling
  • functional connectivity
  • negative symptoms
  • schizophrenia
  • transcranial alternating current stimulation

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