Neurological Sciences

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 147–154 | Cite as

Boosting and consolidating the proprioceptive cortical aftereffect by combining tendon vibration and repetitive TMS over primary motor cortex

  • Luisa PerassoEmail author
  • Laura Avanzino
  • Giovanna Lagravinese
  • Alessandro Giannini
  • Emanuela Luisa Faelli
  • Ambra Bisio
  • Angelo Quartarone
  • Vincenzo Rizzo
  • Piero Ruggeri
  • Marco Bove
Original Article


Tendon vibration of a limb elicits illusory movements in the direction that the vibrated muscle would be stretched, followed by a transient perception of movement in the opposite direction, that was demonstrated to correspond to a “cortical” aftereffect (Goodwin et al. Science 175:1382–1384, 1972). Primary motor cortex (M1) excitability of the non-vibrated antagonist muscle of the vibrated muscle increased during vibration and decreased thereafter. The cortical aftereffect is of interest when considering the possibility to use tendon vibration in rehabilitation for restoring unbalance activity between antagonistic muscles but, due to its short-lasting duration, has not been explored so far. We investigated the possibility to consolidate the cortical aftereffect by combining tendon vibration with a concomitant high-frequency 5-Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocol. The distal tendon of the flexor carpi radialis muscle (FCR) was vibrated and concomitantly a 2-min 5-Hz rTMS protocol was administered on the left hemi-scalp hot spot of the vibrated FCR or its antagonist muscle (extensor carpi radialis (ECR)). We found that this protocol induced a pattern of unbalanced M1 excitability between vibrated muscle and its antagonist with increased excitability of the FCR and decreased excitability of ECR cortical areas, which persisted up to 30 min.


Vibration Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation Cortical excitability Aftereffect 



This work was supported by the University of Genoa (PRA 2011).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and informed consent

The authors declare that all participants gave written informed consent to the study.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and of the national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luisa Perasso
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laura Avanzino
    • 1
  • Giovanna Lagravinese
    • 1
  • Alessandro Giannini
    • 1
  • Emanuela Luisa Faelli
    • 1
  • Ambra Bisio
    • 1
  • Angelo Quartarone
    • 2
    • 3
  • Vincenzo Rizzo
    • 4
  • Piero Ruggeri
    • 1
  • Marco Bove
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Human Physiology and Centro Polifunzionale di Scienze MotorieUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical, Dental Sciences and Morphological and Functional ImagesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  3. 3.IRCCS Centro Neurolesi “Bonino Pulejo”MessinaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineUniversity of Messina MessinaMessinaItaly

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