MRI-based resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) has been shown to predict response to pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for chronic pain, but not yet for motor cortex transcranial magnetic stimulation (M1-rTMS). Twenty-seven fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) patients participated in this double-blind, crossover, and sham-controlled study. Ten daily treatments of 10 Hz M1-rTMS were given over 2 weeks. Before treatment series, patients underwent resting-state fMRI and clinical pain evaluation. Significant pain reduction occurred following active, but not sham, M1-rTMS. The following rsFC patterns predicted reductions in clinical pain intensity after the active treatment: weaker rsFC of the default-mode network with the middle frontal gyrus (r = 0.76, p < 0.001), the executive control network with the rostro-medial prefrontal cortex (r = 0.80, p < 0.001), the thalamus with the middle frontal gyrus (r = 0.82, p < 0.001), and the pregenual anterior cingulate cortex with the inferior parietal lobule (r = 0.79, p < 0.001); and stronger rsFC of the anterior insula with the angular gyrus (r = − 0.81, p < 0.001). The above regions process the attentional and emotional aspects of pain intensity; serve as components of the resting-state networks; are modulated by rTMS; and are altered in FMS. Therefore, we suggest that in FMS, the weaker pre-existing interplay between pain-related brain regions and networks, the larger the pain relief resulting from M1-rTMS.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation Grant #508/12.
© 2022, The Author(s).
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