Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) evoked in the biceps, thenar and tibialis anterior muscles by electrical stimulation of the scalp and of the spinal regions were recorded in 32 patients with focal deficits due to minor cerebral ischemia of the lacunar type and in a control group. Somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) to median nerve stimulation were also recorded. The central motor conduction times (CMCTs) and the threshold intensities for eliciting MEPs in the relaxed muscles were significantly increased on the affected side. Central motor conduction, for at least one muscle, was altered in 18 patients. MEP abnormalities were related to pyramidal signs (though they could be observed also in a patient without any motor impairment) and occurred independently of a specific clinical picture or a radiologically confirmed lacunar lesion. SEPs were less frequently altered than MEPs.