Neuronavigation Increases the Physiologic and Behavioral Effects of Low-Frequency rTMS of Primary Motor Cortex in Healthy Subjects
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- Bashir, S., Edwards, D. & Pascual-Leone, A. Brain Topogr (2011) 24: 54. doi:10.1007/s10548-010-0165-7
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Low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) can exert local and inter-hemispheric neuromodulatory effects on cortical excitability. These physiologic effects can translate into changes in motor behavior, and may offer valuable therapeutic interventions in recovery from stroke. Neuronavigated TMS can maximize accurate and consistent targeting of a given cortical region, but is a lot more involved that conventional TMS. We aimed to assess whether neuronavigation enhances the physiologic and behavioral effects of low-frequency rTMS. Ten healthy subjects underwent two experimental sessions during which they received 1600 pulses of either navigated or non-navigated 1 Hz rTMS at 90% of the resting motor threshold (RMT) intensity over the motor cortical representation for left first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscle. We compared the effects of navigated and non-navigated rTMS on motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) to single-pulse TMS, intracortical inhibition (ICI) and intracortical facilitation (ICF) by paired-pulse TMS, and performance in various behavioral tasks (index finger tapping, simple reaction time and grip strength tasks). Following navigated rTMS, the amplitude of MEPs elicited from the contralateral (unstimulated) motor cortex was significantly increased, and was associated with an increase in ICF and a trend to decrease in ICI. In contrast, non-navigated rTMS elicited nonsignificant changes, most prominently ipsilateral to rTMS. Behaviorally, navigated rTMS significantly improved reaction time RT and pinch force with the hand ipsilateral to stimulation. Non-navigated rTMS lead to similar behavioral trends, although the effects did not reach significance. In summary, navigated rTMS leads to more robust modulation of the contralateral (unstimulated) hemisphere resulting in physiologic and behavioral effects. Our findings highlight the spatial specificity of inter-hemispheric TMS effects, illustrate the superiority of navigated rTMS for certain applications, and have implications for therapeutic applications of rTMS.