Influence of rTMS over the left primary motor cortex on initiation and performance of a simple movement executed with the contralateral arm in healthy volunteers

Cherubino Di Lorenzo, Emanuela Tavernese, Chiara Lepre, Massimiliano Mangone, Antonio Currà, Francesco Pierelli, Valter Santilli, Marco Paoloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) affects cortical excitability according to the frequency of stimulation. Few data are available on the influence of rTMS applied over the primary motor cortex (M1) on motor performances in healthy volunteers. The aim of this study was to determine, through kinematic analysis, whether rTMS over the left M1 changes initiation and performance of movement executed with the contralateral arm. Nine healthy males completed a set of motor tasks, consisting of a single-joint rapid movement between two objects performed under three different behavioral conditions (self-initiated; externally triggered known, during which the subject could see where the target was positioned in advance; externally triggered unknown, during which the subject could not see where the target was positioned until he reached it). The tasks were performed in a randomized order in three different sessions, with a seven-day interval between each session: (1) without stimulation (baseline); (2) immediately after 1-Hz rTMS; (3) immediately after 10-Hz rTMS. We measured reaction time, movement time, calculated as the sum of the time taken to reach the target from movement onset (T1) and that taken to reach the target to movement termination (T2), acceleration and deceleration time on the velocity profile, as well as the ratio between them, and maximum speed and maximum acceleration. Reaction time, movement time, and T2 significantly increased after 1-Hz rTMS and decreased after 10-Hz rTMS, while the other parameters remained unchanged. Our results suggest that rTMS may modify both initiation and performance of a voluntary movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013



  • Externally triggered movements
  • Kinematic analysis
  • Reaction time
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Self-initiated movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this