Cerebellar Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Effects on Saccade Adaptation Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Saccade adaptation is a cerebellar-mediated type of motor learning in which the oculomotor system is exposed to repetitive errors. Different types of saccade adaptations are thought to involve distinct underlying cerebellar mechanisms. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) induces changes in neuronal excitability in a polarity-specific manner and offers a modulatory, noninvasive, functional insight into the learning aspects of different brain regions. We aimed to modulate the cerebellar influence on saccade gains during adaptation using tDCS. Subjects performed an inward (n = 10) or outward (n = 10) saccade adaptation experiment (25% intrasaccadic target step) while receiving 1.5 mA of anodal cerebellar tDCS delivered by a small contact electrode. Compared to sham stimulation, tDCS increased learning of saccadic inward adaptation but did not affect learning of outward adaptation. This may imply that plasticity mechanisms in the cerebellum are different between inward and outward adaptation. TDCS could have influenced specific cerebellar areas that contribute to inward but not outward adaptation. We conclude that tDCS can be used as a neuromodulatory technique to alter cerebellar oculomotor output, arguably by engaging wider cerebellar areas and increasing the available resources for learning.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015