Effects of low-frequency whole-body vibration on motor-evoked potentials in healthy men

Exp Physiol. 2009 Jan;94(1):103-16. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2008.042689. Epub 2008 Jul 25.


The aim of this study was to determine whether low-frequency whole-body vibration (WBV) modulates the excitability of the corticospinal and intracortical pathways related to tibialis anterior (TA) muscle activity, thus contributing to the observed changes in neuromuscular function during and after WBV exercise. Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited in response to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the leg area of the motor cortex were recorded in TA and soleus (SOL) muscles of seven healthy male subjects whilst performing 330 s continuous static squat exercise. Each subject completed two conditions: control (no WBV) and WBV (30 Hz, 1.5 mm vibration applied from 111 to 220 s). Five single suprathreshold and five paired TMS were delivered during each squat period lasting 110 s (pre-, during and post-WBV). Two interstimulus intervals (ISIs) between the conditioning and the testing stimuli were employed in order to study the effects of WBV on short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI, ISI = 3 ms) and intracortical facilitation (ICF, ISI = 13 ms). During vibration relative to squat exercise alone, single-pulse TMS provoked significantly higher TA MEP amplitude (56 +/- 14%, P = 0.003) and total area (71 +/- 19%, P = 0.04), and paired TMS with ISI = 13 ms provoked smaller MEP amplitude (-21 +/- 4%, P = 0.01) but not in SOL. Paired-pulse TMS with ISI = 3 ms elicited significantly lower MEP amplitude (TA, -19 +/- 4%, P = 0.009; and SOL, -13 +/- 4%, P = 0.03) and total area (SOL, -17 +/- 6%, P = 0.02) during vibration relative to squat exercise alone in both muscles. Tibialis anterior MEP facilitation in response to single-pulse TMS suggests that WBV increased corticospinal pathway excitability. Increased TA and SOL SICI and decreased TA ICF in response to paired-pulse TMS during WBV indicate vibration-induced alteration of the intracortical processes as well.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Leg / innervation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiology*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • Vibration*