Transcranial direct current stimulation for balance and gait in repetitive mild traumatic brain injury in rats

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Abstract

Background: Balance impairment and lack of postural orientation are serious problems in patients with repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Objective: To investigate whether anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the primary motor cortex (M1) can improve balance control and gait in repetitive mTBI rat models. Methods: In this prospective animal study, 65 repetitive mTBI rats were randomly assigned to two groups: the tDCS group and the control group. To create repetitive mTBI model rats, we induced mTBI in the rats for 3 consecutive days. The tDCS group received one session of anodal tDCS over the M1 area 24 h after the third induced mTBI, while the control group did not receive tDCS treatment. Motor-evoked potential (MEP), foot-fault test, and rotarod test were evaluated before mTBI, before tDCS and after tDCS. The Mann–Whitney U test and Wilcoxon signed rank test were used to assess the effects of variables between the two groups. Results: Anodal tDCS over the M1 area significantly improved the amplitude of MEP in the tDCS group (p = 0.041). In addition, rotarod duration was significantly increased in the tDCS group (p = 0.001). The foot-fault ratio was slightly lower in the tDCS group, however, this was not statistically significant. Conclusion: Anodal tDCS at the M1 area could significantly improve the amplitude of MEP and balance function in a repetitive mTBI rat model. We expect that anodal tDCS would have the potential to improve balance in patients with repetitive mTBI.

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Park, G., Suh, J. H., & Han, S. J. (2021). Transcranial direct current stimulation for balance and gait in repetitive mild traumatic brain injury in rats. BMC Neuroscience, 22(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12868-021-00633-4

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