Slowing fastest finger movements of the dominant hand with low-frequency rTMS of the hand area of the primary motor cortex

Exp Brain Res. 2004 Mar;155(2):196-203. doi: 10.1007/s00221-003-1719-7. Epub 2003 Nov 29.


Neuroimaging studies suggest that the primary hand motor area and the cerebellum play a pivotal role in the control of finger tapping, but their differential contribution in this task is unknown. We used therefore repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in its virtual lesion mode (1 Hz, 10 min, 90% of motor threshold) to study the effects of transient disruption of the right lateral cerebellum (CB), the left primary hand motor area (M1), and the right brachial plexus (PL, control site) on various finger tapping tasks (paced finger tapping task: PFT; tapping with maximum speed: TAPMAX, and tapping with convenient speed: TAPCON) in healthy right-handed subjects. RTMS of the left M1 slowed finger tapping speed of the right hand in the TAPMAX task. This effect eliminated the right hand superiority in the TAPMAX task. In addition, rTMS of the left M1 resulted in slower tapping speeds for both hands during TAPCON. There were no other effects of rTMS on tapping speed or tapping variability. Findings indicate that M1 is essential for generating fastest finger movements.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brachial Plexus / physiology
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Electromyography
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Female
  • Fingers / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology