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Facilitatory effect on the motor cortex by electrical stimulation over the cerebellum in humans

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Abstract

Electrical stimulation over the cerebellum is known to transiently suppress the contralateral motor cortex in humans. However, projections from the cerebellar nuclei to the primary motor cortex are disynaptic excitatory pathways through the ventral thalamus. In the present investigation we studied facilitatory effects on the motor cortical excitability elicited by electrical stimulation over the cerebellum by recording surface electromyographic (EMG) responses from the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscle in nine normal volunteers. For primary motor cortical activation magnetic stimuli were given over the contralateral hand motor area with a figure-of-eight shaped coil with a current to preferentially elicit I3-waves (test stimulus). For cerebellar stimulation high-voltage electric stimuli were given with an anode on the ipsilateral mastoid process and a cathode over the contralateral process as previously described (conditioning stimulus). The effect of conditioning-test interstimulus intervals was investigated. Anodal cerebellar stimuli increased the size of EMG responses to magnetic cortical stimulation at an interstimulus interval of 3 ms. Reversing the current of conditioning stimulus abolished the facilitation. The same (anodal) conditioning stimuli did not affect electrically evoked cortical responses. Based on the effective polarity of the conditioning stimulus and the time course of facilitation we consider that this effect is due to motor cortical facilitation elicited by activation of the excitatory dentatothalamocortical pathway at the deep cerebellar nuclei or superior cerebellar peduncle. We conclude that the motor cortical facilitation is evoked by cerebellar stimulation in humans

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Acknowledgements

Part of this work was supported by Research Project Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research No. 16500194 from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture of Japan, Grant-in-Aid for Research on new treatment of spinocerebellar degeneration, Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare of Japan. The Research Grant (15B-2) for Nervous and Mental Disorders from the Ministry of Health, Labor. and Welfare of Japan, a grant from the Committee of the Study of Human Exposure to E.M.F., Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Post, and Telecommunications, grants from Life Science foundation of Japan and the Association of Radio-Industry and Business (ARIB).

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Correspondence to Yoshikazu Ugawa.

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Iwata, N.K., Hanajima, R., Furubayashi, T. et al. Facilitatory effect on the motor cortex by electrical stimulation over the cerebellum in humans. Exp Brain Res 159, 418–424 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-004-1979-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-004-1979-x

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