Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Ryan Jankord (Committee Co-Chair), David Ladle (Committee Member), Larry Ream (Committee Co-Chair)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is the current technique used clinically to attenuate the effects of various neurological related deficits and augment functions such as memory and learning. The cellular and molecular mechanisms behind tDCS remain largely unknown and this study provides some of the first insights into the mechanisms behind tDCS. Direct current stimulation has been used to increase levels of long term potentiation (LTP) ex vivo suggesting that this stimulation has an effect on the LTP mechanisms of action. Subcellular protein extraction and fractionation methods were used to isolate synaptoneurosomes from various brain regions to assess the effects of this treatment. One protein specifically targeted was the glutamatergic ionotropic a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4- isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor because of the large role that this receptor plays in LTP in areas of the brain such as the hippocampus. The AMPA receptor translocates to perisynaptic locations and laterally diffuses to the post synaptic density (PSD) where proteins phosphorylate and retain the receptor to increase synaptic efficacy during LTP. Results from this study show that after rats are subjected to a single bout of tDCS in vivo, AMPA receptor is translocated from a cytosolic to a synaptic region in the hippocampus and with significant phosphorylation in both hippocampal and hypothalamic regions. These results indicate that tDCS has a global effect on the brain and causes an LTP-like response in the hippocampus providing novel findings on the underlying processes of direct current stimulation.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Anatomy Commons