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Keywords:

  • Motor evoked potential;
  • rat;
  • repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation;
  • translation of human magnetic stimulation protocols

Objective:  Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a well-established clinical protocol with numerous potential therapeutic and diagnostic applications. Yet, much work remains in the elucidation of TMS mechanisms, optimization of protocols, and in development of novel therapeutic applications. As with many technologies, the key to these issues lies in the proper experimentation and translation of TMS methods to animal models, among which rat models have proven popular. A significant increase in the number of rat TMS publications has necessitated analysis of their relevance to human work. We therefore review the essential principles for the approximation of human TMS protocols in rats as well as specific methods that addressed these issues in published studies.

Materials and Methods:  We performed an English language literature search combined with our own experience and data. We address issues that we see as important in the translation of human TMS methods to rat models and provide a summary of key accomplishments in these areas.

Results:  An extensive literature review illustrated the growth of rodent TMS studies in recent years. Current advances in the translation of single, paired-pulse, and repetitive stimulation paradigms to rodent models are presented. The importance of TMS in the generation of data for preclinical trials is also highlighted.

Conclusions:  Rat TMS has several limitations when considering parallels between animal and human stimulation. However, it has proven to be a useful tool in the field of translational brain stimulation and will likely continue to aid in the design and implementation of stimulation protocols for therapeutic and diagnostic applications.