Are ipsilateral motor evoked potentials subject to intracortical inhibition?

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Journal Article
Journal of Neurophysiology, 2016, 115 (3), pp. 1735 - 1739
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© 2016 the American Physiological Society. Paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used to examine intracortical inhibition in primary motor cortex (M1), termed short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI). To our knowledge, SICI has only been demonstrated in contralateral motor evoked potentials (MEPs). Ipsilateral MEPs (iMEPs) are assumed to reflect excitability of an uncrossed oligosynaptic pathway, and can sometimes be evoked in proximal upper-limb muscles using high-intensity TMS. We examined whether iMEPs in the biceps brachii (BB) would be suppressed by subthreshold conditioning, therefore demonstrating SICI of iMEPs. TMS was delivered to the dominant M1 to evoke conditioned (C) and nonconditioned (NC) iMEPs in the nondominant BB of healthy participants during weak bilateral elbow flexion. The conditioning stimulus intensities tested were 85%, 100%, and 115% of active motor threshold (AMT), at 2 ms and 4 ms interstimulus intervals (ISI). The iMEP ratio (C/NC) was calculated for each condition to assess the amount of inhibition. Inhibition of iMEPs was present at 2 ms ISI with 100% and 115% AMT (both P < 0.03), mediated by a reduction in persistence and size (all P < 0.05). To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of SICI of iMEPs. This technique may be useful as a tool to better understand the role of ipsilateral M1 during functional motor tasks.
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