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