Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 46, Issue 9, pp 1071–1080 | Cite as

Effect of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on rectal function and emotion in humans

  • Yuuichi Aizawa
  • Joe Morishita
  • Michiko Kano
  • Takayuki Mori
  • Shin-Ichi Izumi
  • Kenichiro Tsutsui
  • Toshio Iijima
  • Motoyori Kanazawa
  • Shin FukudoEmail author
Original Article—Alimentary Tract



A previous brain imaging study demonstrated activation of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) during visceral nociception, and this activation was associated with anxiety. We hypothesized that functional modulation of the right DLPFC by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) can reveal the actual role of right DLPFC in brain–gut interactions in humans.


Subjects were 11 healthy males aged 23.5 ± 1.4 (mean ± SE) years. Viscerosensory evoked potential (VEP) with sham (0 mA) or actual (30 mA) electrical stimulation (ES) of the rectum was taken after sham, low frequency rTMS at 0.1 Hz, and high frequency rTMS at 10 Hz to the right DLPFC. Rectal tone was measured with a rectal barostat. Visceral perception and emotion were analyzed using an ordinate scale, rectal barostat, and VEP.

Key results

Low frequency rTMS significantly reduced anxiety evoked by ES at 30 mA (p < 0.05). High frequency rTMS–30 mA ES significantly produced more phasic volume events than sham rTMS–30 mA ES (p < 0.05).

Conclusions and inferences

We successfully modulated the gastrointestinal function of healthy individuals through rTMS to the right DLPFC. Thus, rTMS to the DLPFC appears to modulate the affective, but not direct, component of visceral perception and motility of the rectum.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) Viscerosensory evoked potential (VEP) Visceral perception Electroencephalogram (EEG) 



Irritable bowel syndrome


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation


Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex


Viscerosensory evoked potential





This research was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and that of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan.

Conflict of interest

Authors disclose no conflict of interest and there is no commercial bias in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuuichi Aizawa
    • 1
  • Joe Morishita
    • 1
  • Michiko Kano
    • 1
  • Takayuki Mori
    • 2
  • Shin-Ichi Izumi
    • 2
  • Kenichiro Tsutsui
    • 3
  • Toshio Iijima
    • 3
  • Motoyori Kanazawa
    • 1
  • Shin Fukudo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral MedicineTohoku University Graduate School of MedicineSendaiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationTohoku University Graduate School of MedicineSendaiJapan
  3. 3.Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences, Graduate School of Life SciencesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

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