Introduction: We examined the cumulative effect of 4 consecutive bouts of noninvasive brain stimulation on corticospinal plasticity and motor performance, and whether these responses were influenced by the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) polymorphism. Methods: In a randomized double-blinded cross-over design, changes in strength and indices of corticospinal plasticity were analyzed in 14 adults who were exposed to 4 consecutive sessions of anodal and sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Participants also undertook a blood sample for BDNF genotyping (N = 13). Results: We observed a significant increase in isometric wrist flexor strength with transcranial magnetic stimulation revealing increased corticospinal excitability, decreased silent period duration, and increased cortical voluntary activation compared with sham tDCS. Conclusions: The results show that 4 consecutive sessions of anodal tDCS increased cortical voluntary activation manifested as an improvement in strength. Induction of corticospinal plasticity appears to be influenced by the BDNF polymorphism. Muscle Nerve 54: 903–913, 2016.
- BDNF polymorphism
- cortical voluntary activation
- motor performance
- neural plasticity
- transcranial direct current stimulation