The Cerebellum

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 826–834

Motor Cortex Excitability in Acute Cerebellar Infarct

Original Paper


Limited evidence to date has demonstrated changes in excitability that develops over the contralateral motor cortex after a cerebellar infarct. As such, the present study investigated changes in excitability over the contra- (contraM1) and ipsilateral motor cortices (ipsiM1), in patients with acute cerebellar infarct, to determine whether the changes may have functional relevance. Paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation, combined with detailed clinical assessment, was undertaken in ten patients presenting with acute unilateral cerebellar infarct. Studies were undertaken within 1 week of ictus and followed longitudinally at 3-, 6-, and 12-month periods. Comparisons were made with 15 age-matched controls. Immediately following a stroke, short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) was significantly reduced over the contraM1 in all patients (P = 0.01), while reduced over the ipsiM1 in those with severe functional impairment (P = 0.01). Moreover, ipsiM1 SICI correlated with impairment (r = 0.69, P = 0.03), such that less SICI was observed in those patients with most impairment. Cortical excitability changes persisted over the follow-up period in the context of clinical improvement. Following an acute cerebellar infarct, excitability abnormalities develop over both motor cortices, more prominently in patients with severe functional impairment. The cortical changes, particularly over the ipsilateral motor cortex, may represent a functionally relevant plastic process that may guide future therapeutic strategies to better facilitate recovery.


Stroke Cerebellum Plasticity Transcranial magnetic stimulation Cortical inhibition 



Barthel Index


Contralateral primary motor cortex


Deep cerebellar nuclei


Fugl–Meyer score


Intracortical facilitation


Ipsilateral primary motor cortex


Primary motor cortex


Motor evoked potential


Modified Rankin scale


Non-invasive brain stimulation


National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale


Posterior inferior cerebellar artery


Resting motor threshold


Scale for the assessment and rating of ataxia


Superior cerebellar artery


Short-interval intracortical inhibition


Transcranial direct current stimulation


Transcranial magnetic stimulation


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuroscience Research Australia and Prince of Wales Clinical SchoolUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Medical SciencesUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.University of New South Wales and Neuroscience Research AustraliaRandwickAustralia

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