The neural networks subserving smooth pursuit eye movements (SPEM) provide an ideal model for investigating the interaction of sensory processing and motor control during ongoing movements. To better understand core plasticity aspects of sensorimotor processing for SPEM, normative sham, anodal or cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was applied over visual area V5 and frontal eye fields (FEF) in sixty healthy participants. The identical within-subject paradigm was used to assess SPEM modulations by practice. While no specific tDCS effects were revealed, within- and between-session practice effects indicate plasticity of top-down extraretinal mechanisms that mainly affect SPEM in the absence of visual input and during SPEM initiation. To explore the potential of tDCS effects, individual electric field simulations were computed based on calibrated finite element head models and individual functional localization of V5 and FEF location (using functional MRI) and orientation (using combined EEG/MEG) was conducted. Simulations revealed only limited electric field target intensities induced by the applied normative tDCS montages but indicate the potential efficacy of personalized tDCS for the modulation of SPEM. In sum, results indicate the potential susceptibility of extraretinal SPEM control to targeted external neuromodulation (e.g., personalized tDCS) and intrinsic learning protocols.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)
DFG Research Classification Scheme
- 206-03 Experimental and Theoretical Neurosciences of Networks