Personalized connectivity-guided DLPFC-TMS for depression: Advancing computational feasibility, precision and reproducibility

Robin F.H. Cash*, Luca Cocchi, Jinglei Lv, Yumeng Wu, Paul B. Fitzgerald, Andrew Zalesky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is an established treatment for refractory depression, however, therapeutic outcomes vary. Mounting evidence suggests that clinical response relates to functional connectivity with the subgenual cingulate cortex (SGC) at the precise DLPFC stimulation site. Critically, SGC-related network architecture shows considerable interindividual variation across the spatial extent of the DLPFC, indicating that connectivity-based target personalization could potentially be necessary to improve treatment outcomes. However, to date accurate personalization has not appeared feasible, with recent work indicating that the intraindividual reproducibility of optimal targets is limited to 3.5 cm. Here we developed reliable and accurate methodologies to compute individualized connectivity-guided stimulation targets. In resting-state functional MRI scans acquired across 1,000 healthy adults, we demonstrate that, using this approach, personalized targets can be reliably and robustly pinpointed, with a median accuracy of ~2 mm between scans repeated across separate days. These targets remained highly stable, even after 1 year, with a median intraindividual distance between coordinates of only 2.7 mm. Interindividual spatial variation in personalized targets exceeded intraindividual variation by a factor of up to 6.85, suggesting that personalized targets did not trivially converge to a group-average site. Moreover, personalized targets were heritable, suggesting that connectivity-guided rTMS personalization is stable over time and under genetic control. This computational framework provides capacity for personalized connectivity-guided TMS targets to be robustly computed with high precision and has the flexibly to advance research in other basic research and clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4155-4172
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


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