Hippocampal and striatal responses during motor learning are modulated by prefrontal cortex stimulation

Mareike A. Gann, Bradley R. King, Nina Dolfen, Menno P. Veldman, Kimberly L. Chan, Nicolaas A.J. Puts, Richard A.E. Edden, Marco Davare, Stephan P. Swinnen, Dante Mantini, Edwin M. Robertson, Geneviève Albouy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


While it is widely accepted that motor sequence learning (MSL) is supported by a prefrontal-mediated interaction between hippocampal and striatal networks, it remains unknown whether the functional responses of these networks can be modulated in humans with targeted experimental interventions. The present proof-of-concept study employed a multimodal neuroimaging approach, including functional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and MR spectroscopy, to investigate whether individually-tailored theta-burst stimulation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex can modulate responses in the hippocampus and the basal ganglia during motor learning. Our results indicate that while stimulation did not modulate motor performance nor task-related brain activity, it influenced connectivity patterns within hippocampo-frontal and striatal networks. Stimulation also altered the relationship between the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the stimulated prefrontal cortex and learning-related changes in both activity and connectivity in fronto-striato-hippocampal networks. This study provides the first experimental evidence, to the best of our knowledge, that brain stimulation can alter motor learning-related functional responses in the striatum and hippocampus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118158
StatePublished - Aug 15 2021


  • GABA
  • Hippocampus
  • Motor learning
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Striatum
  • Theta-burst stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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