Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation over the Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Improves Inhibitory Control and Endurance Performance in Healthy Individuals

L. Angius, E. Santarnecchi, A. Pascual-Leone, S. M. Marcora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is a crucial brain region for inhibitory control, an executive function essential for behavioral self-regulation. Recently, inhibitory control has been shown to be important for endurance performance. Improvement in inhibitory control was found following transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied over the left DLPFC (L-DLPFC). This study examined the effect tDCS on both an inhibitory control and endurance performance in a group of healthy individuals. Twelve participants received either real tDCS (Real-tDCS) or placebo tDCS (Sham-tDCS) in randomized order. The Anodal electrode was placed over the L-DLPFC while the cathodal electrode was placed above Fp2. Stimulation lasted 30 min with current intensity set at 2 mA. A Stroop test was administered to assess inhibitory control. Heart rate (HR), ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), and leg muscle pain (PAIN) were monitored during the TTE test, while blood lactate accumulation (∆ B[La−]) was measured at exhaustion. Stroop task performance was improved after Real-tDCS as demonstrated by a lower number of errors for incongruent stimuli (p = 0.012). TTE was significantly longer following Real-tDCS compared to Sham-tDCS (p = 0.029, 17 ± 8 vs 15 ± 8 min), with significantly lower HR (p = 0.002) and RPE (p < 0.001), while no significant difference was found for PAIN (p > 0.224). ∆ B[La−] was significantly higher at exhaustion in Real-tDCS (p = 0.040). Our findings provide preliminary evidence that tDCS with the anode over the L-DLPFC can improve both inhibitory control and cycling performance in healthy individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-45
Number of pages12
JournalNeuroscience
Volume419
Early online date5 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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