Transcranial magnetic stimulation with a half-sine wave pulse elicits direction-specific effects in human motor cortex
- Equal contributors
1 Department of Pediatrics, Technical University Munich, Kinderzentrum München gemeinnützige GmbH, Heiglhofstrasse 63, Munich, 81377, Germany
2 Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Division of Neuropaediatrics and Muscular Disorders, University Medical Centre Freiburg, Mathildenstr 1, Freiburg, 79106, Germany
3 European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen, Grisebachstr 5, Göttingen, 37077, Germany
4 Central Institute for Medical Engineering at Technische Universität München (IMETUM), Boltzmannstrasse 11, Garching, 85748, Germany
5 Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, Kettegaard Allé 30, Hvidovre, 2650, Denmark
BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:139 doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-139Published: 5 November 2012
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) commonly uses so-called monophasic pulses where the initial rapidly changing current flow is followed by a critically dampened return current. It has been shown that a monophasic TMS pulse preferentially excites different cortical circuits in the human motor hand area (M1-HAND), if the induced tissue current has a posterior-to-anterior (PA) or anterior-to-posterior (AP) direction. Here we tested whether similar direction-specific effects could be elicited in M1-HAND using TMS pulses with a half-sine wave configuration.
In 10 young participants, we applied half-sine pulses to the right M1-HAND which elicited PA or AP currents with respect to the orientation of the central sulcus.
Measurements of the motor evoked potential (MEP) revealed that PA half-sine stimulation resulted in lower resting motor threshold (RMT) than AP stimulation. When stimulus intensity (SI) was gradually increased as percentage of maximal stimulator output, the stimulus–response curve (SRC) of MEP amplitude showed a leftward shift for PA as opposed to AP half-sine stimulation. Further, MEP latencies were approximately 1 ms shorter for PA relative to AP half-sine stimulation across the entire SI range tested. When adjusting SI to the respective RMT of PA and AP stimulation, the direction-specific differences in MEP latencies persisted, while the gain function of MEP amplitudes was comparable for PA and AP stimulation.
Using half-sine pulse configuration, single-pulse TMS elicits consistent direction-specific effects in M1-HAND that are similar to TMS with monophasic pulses. The longer MEP latency for AP half-sine stimulation suggests that PA and AP half-sine stimulation preferentially activates different sets of cortical neurons that are involved in the generation of different corticospinal descending volleys.