Comparative modeling of transcranial magnetic and electric stimulation in mouse, monkey, and human

Ivan Alekseichuk, Kathleen Mantell, Sina Shirinpour, Alexander Opitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electric stimulation (TES) are increasingly popular methods to noninvasively affect brain activity. However, their mechanism of action and dose-response characteristics remain under active investigation. Translational studies in animals play a pivotal role in these efforts due to a larger neuroscientific toolset enabled by invasive recordings. In order to translate knowledge gained in animal studies to humans, it is crucial to generate comparable stimulation conditions with respect to the induced electric field in the brain. Here, we conduct a finite element method (FEM) modeling study of TMS and TES electric fields in a mouse, capuchin and macaque monkeys, and a human model. We systematically evaluate the induced electric fields and analyze their relationship to head and brain anatomy. We find that with increasing head size, TMS-induced electric field strength first increases and then decreases according to a two-term exponential function. TES-induced electric field strength strongly decreases from smaller to larger specimen with up to 100x fold differences across species. Our results can serve as a basis to compare and match stimulation parameters across studies in animals and humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-148
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Minnesota's MnDRIVE Initiative, the Institute for Engineering in Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and NIH grant R01MH118930.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Animal model
  • Finite element modeling
  • Neuromodulation
  • Transcranial electric stimulation
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Comparative Study


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