In healthy subjects, suprathreshold repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) at frequencies >2 Hz prolongs the cortical silent period (CSP) over the course of the train. This progressive lengthening probably reflects temporal summation of the inhibitory interneurons in the stimulated primary motor cortex (M1). In this study, we tested whether high-frequency rTMS also modulates the ipsilateral silent period (ISP). In nine normal subjects, suprathreshold 10-pulse rTMS trains were delivered to the right M1 at frequencies of 3, 5, and 10 Hz during maximal isometric contraction of both first dorsal interosseous muscles. At 10 Hz, the second pulse of the train increased the area of the ISP; the other stimuli did not increase it further. During rTMS at 3 and 5 Hz, the ISP remained significantly unchanged. Control experiments showed that 10-Hz rTMS delivered at subthreshold intensity also increased the ISP. rTMS over the hand motor area did not facilitate ISPs in the biceps muscles. Finally, rTMS-induced ISP facilitation did not outlast the 10-Hz rTMS train. These findings suggest that rTMS at a frequency of 10 Hz potentiates the interhemispheric inhibitory mechanisms responsible for the ISP, partly through temporal summation. The distinct changes in the ISP and CSP suggest that rTMS facilitates intrahemispheric and interhemispheric inhibitory phenomena through separate neural mechanisms. The ISP facilitation induced by high-frequency rTMS is a novel, promising tool to investigate pathophysiological abnormal interhemispheric inhibitory transfer in various neurological diseases.
- Corpus callosum
- Motor cortex
- Silent period
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas