Effect of volitional inhibition on cortical inhibitory mechanisms

J Neurophysiol. 2002 Jul;88(1):333-8. doi: 10.1152/jn.2002.88.1.333.


To investigate the effect of volitional inhibition on cortical inhibitory mechanisms, we performed transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) studies with a Go/NoGo reaction task in seven healthy subjects. Subjects were asked to extend their right index finger only after Go, but to remain relaxed after NoGo. Single- and paired-pulse TMS were triggered at the average reaction time for the Go response in each subject after Go or NoGo cues. Motor evoked potentials were recorded in the extensor indicis proprius (EIP) and abductor digiti minimi (ADM) muscles of right hand. Paired-pulse TMS with subthreshold conditioning stimuli at interstimulus intervals (ISIs) of 2 ms [short intracortical inhibition (SICI)] and 15 ms [intracortical facilitation (ICF)] and that with suprathreshold conditioning stimuli at ISI of 80 ms [long intracortical inhibition (LICI)] were performed in both Go/NoGo and control conditions. Inhibition of SICI was enhanced in both EIP and ADM after NoGo and was reduced only in EIP after Go. Inhibition of LICI was reduced in both muscles during both conditions, while ICF was not altered. The present results demonstrate that volitional inhibition enhances SICI but reduces LICI nonselectively. These results suggest that these two inhibitory mechanisms act differently during execution and suppression of voluntary movements.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Differential Threshold
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor
  • Female
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Magnetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Volition*