Bimanual coordination is essential for the performance of many everyday tasks. There are several types of bimanually coordinated movements, classified according to whether the arms are acting to achieve a single goal (cooperative) or separate goals (independent), and whether the arms are moving symmetrically or asymmetrically. Symmetric bimanual movements are thought to facilitate corticomotor excitability (CME), while asymmetric bimanual movements are thought to recruit interhemispheric inhibition to reduce functional coupling between the motor cortices. The influences of movement symmetry and goal conceptualisation on interhemispheric interactions have not been studied together, and not during bimanually active dynamic tasks. The present study used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to investigate the modulation of CME and short- and long-latency interhemispheric inhibition (SIHI and LIHI, respectively) during bimanually active dynamic tasks requiring different types of bimanual coordination. Twenty healthy right-handed adults performed four bimanual tasks in which they held a dumbbell in each hand (independent) or a custom device between both hands (cooperative) while rhythmically flexing and extending their wrists symmetrically or asymmetrically. Motor-evoked potentials were recorded from the right extensor carpi ulnaris. We found CME was greater during asymmetric tasks than symmetric tasks, and movement symmetry did not modulate SIHI or LIHI. There was no effect of goal conceptualisation nor any interaction with movement symmetry for CME, SIHI or LIHI. Based on these results, movement symmetry and goal conceptualisation may not modulate interhemispheric inhibition during dynamic bimanual tasks. These findings contradict prevailing thinking about the roles of CME and interhemispheric inhibition in bimanual coordination.
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The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
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We thank Kelly Ho, Felix Thomas, and April Ren for their assistance with data collection.
There is no funding to disclose.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no relevant financial or non-financial interests to disclose.
This study was performed in line with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval was granted by the Ethics Committee of the University of Auckland (approved on 30/10/18, Reference Number 022023).
Participants gave their written informed consent and this study was approved by the institutional ethics committee.
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Communicated by Bill J Yates.
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Jordan, H.T., Schrafl-Altermatt, M., Byblow, W.D. et al. The modulation of short and long-latency interhemispheric inhibition during bimanually coordinated movements. Exp Brain Res 239, 1507–1516 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-021-06074-z
- Bimanual coordination
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation
- Corticomotor excitability
- Interhemispheric inhibition