Theta-burst stimulation of the cerebellum interferes with internal representations of sensory-motor information related to eye movements in humans

Silvia Colnaghi, Stefano Ramat, Egidio D'Angelo, Andrea Cortese, Giorgio Beltrami, Arrigo Moglia, Maurizio Versino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) applied over the cerebellum exerts long-lasting effects by modulating long-term synaptic plasticity, which is thought to be the basis of learning and behavioral adaptation. To investigate the impact of cTBS over the cerebellum on short-term sensory-motor memory, we recorded in two groups of eight healthy subject each the visually guided saccades (VGSs), the memory-guided saccades (MGSs), and the multiple memory-guided saccades (MMGSs), before and after cTBS (cTBS group) or simulated cTBS (control group). In the cTBS group, cTBS determined hypometria of contralateral centrifugal VGSs and worsened the accuracy of MMGS bilaterally. In the control group, no significant differences were found between the two recording sessions. These results indicate that cTBS over the cerebellum causes eye movement effects that last longer than the stimulus duration. The VGS contralateral hypometria suggested that we eventually inhibited the fastigial nucleus on the stimulated side. MMGSs in normal subjects have a better final accuracy with respect to MGSs. Such improvement is due to the availability in MMGSs of the efference copy of the initial reflexive saccade directed toward the same peripheral target, which provides a sensory-motor information that is memorized and then used to improve the accuracy of the subsequent volitional memory-guided saccade. Thus, we hypothesize that cTBS disrupted the capability of the cerebellum to make an internal representation of the memorized sensory-motor information to be used after a short interval for forward control of saccades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-719
Number of pages9
JournalCerebellum
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

Keywords

  • Cerebellum
  • Efference copy
  • Saccades
  • Synaptic plasticity
  • TBS
  • TMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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