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Banerjee J, Sorrell ME, Celnik PA, Pelled G (2017) Immediate effects of repetitive magnetic stimulation on single cortical pyramidal neurons. Public Library of Science ONE, 12(1):e170528    
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) has been successfully used as a non-invasive therapeutic intervention for several neurological disorders in the clinic as well as an investigative tool for basic neuroscience. rTMS has been shown to induce long-term changes in neuronal circuits in vivo. Such long-term effects of rTMS have been investigated using behavioral, imaging, electrophysiological, and molecular approaches, but there is limited understanding of the immediate effects of TMS on neurons. We investigated the immediate effects of high frequency (20 Hz) rTMS on the activity of cortical neurons in an effort to understand the underlying cellular mechanisms activated by rTMS. We used whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in acute rat brain slices and calcium imaging of cultured primary neurons to examine changes in neuronal activity and intracellular calcium respectively. Our results indicate that each TMS pulse caused an immediate and transient activation of voltage gated sodium channels (9.6 ± 1.8 nA at -45 mV, p value < 0.01) in neurons. Short 500 ms 20 Hz rTMS stimulation induced action potentials in a subpopulation of neurons, and significantly increased the steady state current of the neurons at near threshold voltages (at -45 mV: before TMS: I = 130 ± 17 pA, during TMS: I = 215 ± 23 pA, p value = 0.001). rTMS stimulation also led to a delayed increase in intracellular calcium (153.88 ± 61.94% increase from baseline). These results show that rTMS has an immediate and cumulative effect on neuronal activity and intracellular calcium levels, and suggest that rTMS may enhance neuronal responses when combined with an additional motor, sensory or cognitive stimulus. Thus, these results could be translated to optimize rTMS protocols for clinical as well as basic science applications