Characterizing Cortical Oscillatory Responses in Major Depressive Disorder Before and After Convulsive Therapy: A TMS-EEG Study

Aron T. Hill, Itay Hadas, Reza Zomorrodi, Daphne Voineskos, Paul B. Fitzgerald, Daniel M. Blumberger, Zafiris J. Daskalakis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Combined transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography (TMS-EEG) is emerging as a powerful technique for interrogating neural circuit dysfunction in psychiatric disorders. Here, we utilized time-frequency analyses to characterize differences in neural oscillatory dynamics between subjects with major depressive disorder (MDD) and healthy controls (HC). We further examined changes in TMS-related oscillatory power following convulsive therapy. Methods: Oscillatory power was examined following TMS over the dorsolateral prefrontal and motor cortices (DLPFC and M1) in 38 MDD subjects, and 22 HCs. We further investigated how these responses changed in the MDD group following an acute course of convulsive therapy (either magnetic seizure therapy [MST, n = 24] or electroconvulsive therapy [ECT, n = 14]). Results: Prior to treatment, MDD subjects exhibited increased oscillatory power within delta, theta, and alpha frequency bands with TMS-EEG over the DLPFC, but showed no differences to HCs with stimulation over M1. Following MST, DLPFC stimulation revealed attenuated baseline-normalized power in the delta and theta bands, with reductions in the delta, theta, and alpha power following ECT. TMS over M1 revealed reduced delta and theta power following ECT, with no changes observed following MST. An association was also observed between the treatment- induced change in alpha power and depression severity score. Limitations: Limitations include the modest sample size, open-label MST and ECT treatment designs, and lack of a placebo condition. Conclusions: These results provide evidence of alterations in TMS-related oscillatory activity in MDD, and further suggest modulation of oscillatory power following ECT and MST.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-88
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


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