Crossed and direct effects of digital nerves stimulation on motor evoked potential: A study with magnetic brain stimulation

P. Manganotti, G. Zanette, C. Bonato, M. Tinazzi, A. Polo, A. Fiaschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the influence of contralateral and ipsilateral cutaneous digital nerve stimulation on motor evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited in hand muscles by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We tested the effect of different magnetic stimulus intensities on MEPs recorded from the thenar eminence (TE) muscles of the right hand while an electrical conditioning stimulus was delivered to the second finger of the same hand with an intensity four times above the sensory threshold. Amplitude decrement of conditioned MEPs as a function of magnetic stimulus intensity was observed. The lowest TMS stimulus intensity produced the largest decrease in conditioned MEPs. Moreover, we investigated the effects of ipsilateral and contralateral electrical digital stimulation on MEPs elicited in the right TE and biceps muscle using an intensity 10% above the threshold. Marked MEP inhibition in TE muscles following both ipsilateral and contralateral digital stimulation is the main finding of this study. The decrease in conditioned MEP amplitude to ipsilateral stimulation reached a level of 50% of unconditioned MEP amplitude with the circular coil and 30% with the focal coil. The amplitude of conditioned MEPs to contralateral digital stimulation showed a decrease of 60% with the circular coil and more than 50% with the focal coil. The onset of the inhibitory effect of contralateral stimulation using the focal coil occurred at a mean of 15 ms later than that of ipsilateral stimulation. No MEP inhibition was observed when recording from proximal muscles. Ipsilateral and contralateral digital stimulation had no effect on F wave at appropriate interstimulus intervals, where the main MEP suppression was noted. We stress the importance of selecting an appropriate test stimulus intensity to evaluate MEP inhibition by digital nerves stimulation. Spinal and cortical sites of sensorimotor integration are adduced to explain the direct and crossed MEP inhibition following digital nerves stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-289
Number of pages10
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology - Electromyography and Motor Control
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1997


  • digital nerve stimulation
  • motor evoked potential
  • transcallosal inhibition
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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