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J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2005 Mar;30(2):91-7.

A framework for targeting alternative brain regions with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in the treatment of depression.

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Affective Neuroscience Section, Helmholtz Research Institute, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


It has been argued that clinical depression is accompanied by reductions in cortical excitability of the left prefrontal cortex (PFC). In support of this, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which is a method of enhancing cortical excitability, has shown antidepressant efficacy when applied over the left PFC, although the overall therapeutic effects remain inconclusive. The cerebral pathophysiology of depression is, however, not limited to dysfunctions in the PFC, thus, targeting alternative brain regions with rTMS may provide new therapeutic windows in the treatment of depression. Evidence from electroencephalography and lesion studies suggests that not only is the left PFC involved in depression but also the parietal cortex and cerebellum. Furthermore, rTMS over the parietal cortex and the cerebellum has been found to improve mood and emotional functioning, at least in healthy volunteers. We have integrated these findings in an rTMS-oriented theoretical framework for the neurobiology of low mood and depression. To establish the possible therapeutic efficacy of this model, whereby, for example, the application of slow rTMS over the right parietal cortex and fast rTMS over the cerebellum may be beneficial in different subtypes of depression, clinical rTMS studies that target the parietal cortex and cerebellum are warranted.

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