Bidirectional modulation of sensory cortical excitability by quadripulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (QPS) in humans

Setsu Nakatani-Enomoto, Ritstuko Hanajima, Masashi Hamada, Yasuo Terao, Hideyuki Matsumoto, Yuichiro Shirota, Shingo Okabe, Masaki Hirose, Koichiro Nakamura, Toshiaki Furubayashi, Shunsuke Kobayashi, Hitoshi Mochizuki, Hiroyuki Enomoto, Yoshikazu Ugawa
Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 2012, 123 (7): 1415-21

OBJECTIVE: Quadripulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (QPS) is a newly designed patterned repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Previous studies of QPS showed bidirectional effects on the primary motor cortex (M1), which depended on its inter-stimulus interval (ISI): motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were potentiated at short ISIs and depressed at long ISIs (homotopic effects). These physiological characters were compatible with synaptic plasticity. In this research, we studied effects of QPS on the primary sensory cortex (S1).

METHODS: One burst consisted of four monophasic TMS pulses at an intensity of 90% active motor threshold. The ISI of four pulses was set at 5 ms (QPS-5) or at 50 ms (QPS-50). Same bursts were given every 5s for 30 min. QPS-5 and QPS-50 were performed over three areas (M1, S1 and dorsal premotor cortex (dPMC)). One sham stimulation session was also performed. Excitability changes of S1 were evaluated by timeline of somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs).

RESULTS: QPS-5 over M1 or dPMC enhanced the P25-N33 component of SEP, and QPS-50 over M1 depressed it. By contrast, QPSs over S1 had no effects on SEPs.

CONCLUSIONS: QPSs over motor cortices modulated the S1 cortical excitability (heterotopic effects). Mutual connections between dPMC or M1 and S1 might be responsible for these modulations.

SIGNIFICANCE: QPSs induced heterotopic LTP or LTD-like cortical excitability changes.

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