Despite multiple available treatments for bipolar depression (BD), many patients face sub-optimal responses. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been advocated in the management of different conditions, including BD, especially in treatment-resistant cases. The optimal dose and timing of tDCS, the mutual influence with other concurrently administered interventions, long-term efficacy, overall safety, and biological underpinnings nonetheless deserve additional assessment. The present study appraised the existing clinical evidence about tDCS for bipolar depression, delving into the putative biological underpinnings with a special emphasis on cellular and molecular levels, with the ultimate goal of providing a translational perspective on the matter. Two separate systematic reviews across the PubMed database since inception up to August 8th 2022 were performed, with fourteen clinical and nineteen neurobiological eligible studies. The included clinical studies encompass 207 bipolar depression patients overall and consistently document the efficacy of tDCS, with a reduction in depression scores after treatment ranging from 18% to 92%. The RCT with the largest sample clearly showed a significant superiority of active stimulation over sham. Mild-to-moderate and transient adverse effects are attributed to tDCS across these studies. The review of neurobiological literature indicates that several molecular mechanisms may account for the antidepressant effect of tDCS in BD patients, including the action on calcium homeostasis in glial cells, the enhancement of LTP, the regulation of neurotrophic factors and inflammatory mediators, and the modulation of the expression of plasticity-related genes. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study on the matter to concurrently provide a synthesis of the clinical evidence and an in-depth appraisal of the putative biological underpinnings, providing consistent support for the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of tDCS.

Transcranial direct current stimulation for bipolar depression: systematic reviews of clinical evidence and biological underpinnings

Martinotti, Giovanni;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Despite multiple available treatments for bipolar depression (BD), many patients face sub-optimal responses. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been advocated in the management of different conditions, including BD, especially in treatment-resistant cases. The optimal dose and timing of tDCS, the mutual influence with other concurrently administered interventions, long-term efficacy, overall safety, and biological underpinnings nonetheless deserve additional assessment. The present study appraised the existing clinical evidence about tDCS for bipolar depression, delving into the putative biological underpinnings with a special emphasis on cellular and molecular levels, with the ultimate goal of providing a translational perspective on the matter. Two separate systematic reviews across the PubMed database since inception up to August 8th 2022 were performed, with fourteen clinical and nineteen neurobiological eligible studies. The included clinical studies encompass 207 bipolar depression patients overall and consistently document the efficacy of tDCS, with a reduction in depression scores after treatment ranging from 18% to 92%. The RCT with the largest sample clearly showed a significant superiority of active stimulation over sham. Mild-to-moderate and transient adverse effects are attributed to tDCS across these studies. The review of neurobiological literature indicates that several molecular mechanisms may account for the antidepressant effect of tDCS in BD patients, including the action on calcium homeostasis in glial cells, the enhancement of LTP, the regulation of neurotrophic factors and inflammatory mediators, and the modulation of the expression of plasticity-related genes. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study on the matter to concurrently provide a synthesis of the clinical evidence and an in-depth appraisal of the putative biological underpinnings, providing consistent support for the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of tDCS.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/794015
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