Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) non-invasively modulates brain function by inducing neuronal excitability. The conventional hot spot for inducing the highest current density in the hand motor area may not be the optimal site for effective stimulation. In this study, we investigated the influence of the center position of the anodal electrode on changes in motor cortical excitability. We considered three tDCS conditions in 16 healthy subjects: (i) real stimulation with the anodal electrode located at the conventional hand motor hot spot determined by motor evoked potentials (MEPs); (ii) real stimulation with the anodal electrode located at the point with the highest current density in the hand motor area as determined by electric current simulation; and (iii) sham stimulation. Motor cortical excitability as measured by MEP amplitude increased after both real stimulation conditions, but not after sham stimulation. Stimulation using the simulation-derived anodal electrode position, which was found to be posterior to the MEP hot spot for all subjects, induced higher motor cortical excitability. Individual positioning of the anodal electrode, based on the consideration of anatomical differences between subjects, appears to be important for maximizing the effects of tDCS.
- Electric current density
- Motor cortical excitability
- Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)