Background: Studies using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive method of brain stimulation, have implicated impaired neuroplasticity in the pathophysiology of depression in younger adults. The role of neuroplasticity in late-life depression (LLD) has not yet been explored using TMS. Objective: This study aimed at evaluating motor cortical neuroplasticity using paired associative stimulation (PAS). Single-pulse TMS was used to induce motor-evoked potentials (MEP) in the contralateral hand muscle before and after PAS. The potentiation of MEP amplitudes after PAS was used as an indirect index of associative plasticity and long-term potentiation (LTP) (i.e. PAS-LTP). Results: 48 older adults with depression and 34 age-matched healthy controls (HC) were compared. PAS- LTP was successfully induced in 68.8% of older adults with depression and 47.1% of HC. At the group level, older adults with depression failed to show statistically significant induction of neuroplasticity, which was observed in HC. However, no significant differences were observed between the two groups for PAS-LTP. Conclusion: Our results suggest that associative plasticity does not differ substantially between older adults with depression and age-matched HC. Continued research is needed to more comprehensively understand the role of neuroplasticity in the pathophysiology of LLD.
- Late-life depression
- Long-term potentiation
- Paired associative stimulation
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation