Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is increasingly used as a therapeutic tool in various neurological and psychiatric disorders, and we recently found that it has a neuroprotective effect both in vitro and in vivo. However, the neurochemical mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects are still unknown. We investigated the effects of long-term rTMS on the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), cholecystokinin (CCK), and neuropeptide tyrosine (NPY) mRNA in rat brain. In situ hybridization revealed a significant increase in BDNF mRNA in the hippocampal areas CA3 and CA3c, the granule cell layer, as well as in the parietal and the piriform cortex after rTMS. BDNF-like immunoreactivity was markedly increased in the same areas. A significant increase in CCK mRNA was observed in all brain regions examined. NPY mRNA expression, in contrast, was not altered. The present results suggest that BDNF may contribute to the neuroprotective effects of rTMS. Furthermore, the rTMS-induced changes in BDNF and CCK expression are similar to those reported after antidepressant drug treatment and electroconvulsive seizures, suggesting that a common molecular mechanism may underlie different antidepressant treatment strategies.
Neuropsychopharmacology 2000 Aug;23(2):205-15
Muller MB, Toschi N, Kresse AE, Post A, Keck ME. Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany.