Modulatory effects of 1 Hz rTMS over the cerebellum on motor cortex excitability

Exp Brain Res. 2007 Jan;176(3):440-7. doi: 10.1007/s00221-006-0628-y. Epub 2006 Aug 18.


Clinical observations and data from animal experiments point to a physiological facilitatory influence of the deep cerebellar structures on the motor system through the cerebello-thalamo-cortical pathways. The aim of the present study was to explore the long-term effects of low-frequency (1 Hz) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the cerebellum on short intracortical inhibition (SICI) and facilitation (ICF) of the motor cortex in normal subjects. Eight healthy subjects (mean age 26.9 +/- 3.1) underwent 1 Hz frequency rTMS delivered on the right cerebellar hemisphere. Before and after cerebellar rTMS, SICI and ICF were assessed in the motor cortex contralateral to the stimulated cerebellar hemisphere by means of a paired pulse paradigm with a conditioning subthreshold stimulus set to 80% of the motor threshold (MT) followed by a testing stimulus at 120% of MT intensity. Five different interstimulus intervals (ISIs) were used to assess SICI (2 and 4 ms) and ICF (7, 10 and 15 ms). Amplitude of the responses was expressed as the percentage of motor evoked potential (MEP) to test stimulus alone. Results showed a significant decrease of ICF at 10 ms ISI that persisted up to 20 min after cerebellar rTMS. This was the only significant modulatory effect of cerebellar stimulation on intracortical motor excitability A suppressive effect of the low-frequency TMS on Purkinje cells could be supposed, even if, the lack of effects on other facilitatory ISIs, stands for more complex modulatory effects of rTMS over cerebellum. The study is a further demonstration that rTMS over the cerebellum induces a long-lasting modulatory effect on the excitability of the interconnected motor area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Differential Threshold / physiology
  • Differential Threshold / radiation effects
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reaction Time / radiation effects
  • Time Factors
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation*