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Neuroscience. 2016 Aug 4;329:93-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.04.037. Epub 2016 Apr 30.

Low-level intermittent quadriceps activity during transcranial direct current stimulation facilitates knee extensor force-generating capacity.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
  • 2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
  • 3Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; School of Kinesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Electronic address: mouli@umich.edu.

Abstract

Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is known to increase the force-generating capacity of the skeletal muscles. However, when tDCS is concurrently combined with a motor task, interference may occur that hinders tDCS effects. Here, we tested the interaction and time course of tDCS effects on force production when paired with a low-level force-matching task. Twenty-two subjects were randomized into two groups: tDCS-Matching and tDCS-Resting. Each group received tDCS and a sham stimulation, separated by one week. Maximal knee extensor and flexor torques were measured before and up to twenty-five minutes following the stimulation. The tDCS-Matching group produced greater knee extension torques relative to sham when compared with the tDCS-Resting group. There was no significant effect for knee flexion. This suggests that interference does not occur for force production tasks when tDCS is combined with a motor task. Rather, the task appears to aid and isolate the effects to the muscle groups involved in the task.

KEYWORDS:

functional specificity; metaplasticity; muscle strength; noninvasive brain stimulation; transcranial magnetic stimulation; voluntary torque

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