Voluntary movement control and execution are regulated by the influence of the cerebellar output over different interconnected cortical areas, through dentato-thalamo connections. In the present study we applied transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroencephalography (EEG) to directly assess the effects of cerebellar theta-burst stimulation (TBS) over the controlateral primary motor cortex (M1) and posterior parietal cortex (PPC) in a group of healthy volunteers. We found a TBS-dependent bidirectional modulation over TMS-evoked activity; specifically, cTBS increased whereas iTBS decreased activity between 100 and 200 ms after TMS, in a similar manner over both M1 and PPC areas. On the oscillatory domain, TBS induced specific changes over M1 natural frequencies of oscillation: TMS-evoked alpha activity was decreased by cTBS whereas beta activity was enhanced by iTBS. No effects were observed after sham stimulation. Our data provide novel evidence showing that the cerebellum exerts its control on the cortex likely by impinging on specific set of interneurons dependent on GABA-ergic activity. We show that cerebellar TBS modulates cortical excitability of distant interconnected cortical areas by acting through common temporal, spatial and frequency domains.
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