Repository logo

Cortical paired associative stimulation shows impaired plasticity of inhibition networks as a function of chronic alcohol use.

Accepted version

No Thumbnail Available



Change log


Sonkusare, Saurabh 
Mandali, Alekhya 
Casero, Violeta 
Cui, Hailun 


BACKGROUND: Response inhibition - or the ability to withhold a suboptimal response - relies on the efficacy of fronto-striatal networks, and is impaired in neuropsychiatric disorders including addiction. Cortical paired associative stimulation (cPAS) is a form of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) which can strengthen neuronal connections via spike-timing-dependent plasticity mechanisms. Here, we used cPAS targeting the fronto-striatal inhibitory network to modulate performance on a response inhibition measure in chronic alcohol use. METHODS: Fifty-five participants (20 patients with a formal alcohol use disorder (AUD) diagnosis (26-74 years, 6[30%] females) and 20 matched healthy controls (HCs) (27-73 years, 6[30%] females) within a larger sample of 35 HCs (23-84 years, 11[31.4%] females) underwent two randomized sessions of cPAS 1-week apart: right inferior frontal cortex stimulation preceding right presupplementary motor area stimulation by either 4 ms (excitation condition) or 100 ms (control condition), and were subsequently administered the Stop Signal Task (SST) in both sessions. RESULTS: HCs showed decreased stop signal reaction time in the excitation condition (t(19) = -3.01, p = 0.007, [CIs]:-35.6 to -6.42); this facilitatory effect was not observed for AUD (F(1,31) = 9.57, p = 0.004, CIs: -68.64 to -14.11). Individually, rates of SST improvement were substantially higher for healthy (72%) relative to AUD (13.6%) groups (OR: 2.33, p = 0.006, CIs:-3.34 to -0.55). CONCLUSION: In line with previous findings, cPAS improved response inhibition in healthy adults by strengthening the fronto-striatal network through putative long-term potentiation-like plasticity mechanisms. Furthermore, we identified a possible marker of impaired cortical excitability, and, thus, diminished capacity for cPAS-induced neuroplasticity in AUD with direct implications to a disorder-relevant cognitive process.



Alcohol use disorder, Impulsivity, Paired associative stimulation, Plasticity, Response inhibition, Adult, Female, Humans, Male, Alcoholism, Inhibition, Psychological, Long-Term Potentiation, Motor Cortex, Neuronal Plasticity, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Middle Aged, Aged, Young Adult, Aged, 80 and over

Journal Title

Psychol Med

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Cambridge University Press (CUP)