Effect of low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on interhemispheric inhibition

J Neurophysiol. 2005 Sep;94(3):1668-75. doi: 10.1152/jn.01306.2004. Epub 2005 May 4.


We studied the effects of 1-Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on the excitability of interhemispheric connections in 13 right-handed healthy volunteers. TMS was performed using figure-eight coils, and surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded from both first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscles. A paired-pulse method with a conditioning stimulus (CS) to the motor cortex (M1) followed by a test stimulus to the opposite M1 was used to study the interhemispheric inhibition (ppIHI). Both CS and TS were adjusted to produce motor-evoked potentials of approximately 1 mV in the contralateral FDI muscles. After baseline measurement of right-to-left IHI (pre-RIHI) and left-to-right IHI (pre-LIHI), rTMS was applied over left M1 at 1 Hz with 900 stimuli at 115% of resting motor threshold. After rTMS, ppIHI was studied using both the pre-rTMS CS (post-RIHI and post-LIHI) and an adjusted post-rTMS CS set to produce 1-mV motor evoked potentials (MEPs; post-RIHI(adj) and post-LIHI(adj)). The TS was set to produce 1-mV MEPs. There was a significant reduction in post-LIHI (P = 0.0049) and post-LIHI(adj) (P = 0.0169) compared with pre-LIHI at both interstimulus intervals of 10 and 40 ms. Post-RIHI was significantly reduced compared with pre-RIHI (P = 0.0015) but pre-RIHI and post-RIHI(adj) were not significantly different. We conclude that 1-Hz rTMS reduces IHI in both directions but is predominantly from the stimulated to the unstimulated hemisphere. Low-frequency rTMS may be used to modulate the excitability of IHI circuits. Treatment protocols using low-frequency rTMS to reduce cortical excitability in neurological and psychiatric conditions need to take into account their effects on IHI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Electromagnetic Phenomena*
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / radiation effects
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / radiation effects*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / radiation effects*
  • Time Factors