Modulating cerebello-thalamocortical pathways by neuronavigated cerebellar repetitive transcranial stimulation (rTMS)

Neurophysiol Clin. 2008 Oct;38(5):289-95. doi: 10.1016/j.neucli.2008.08.003. Epub 2008 Sep 18.


Objectives: Increasing evidence suggests that dysfunctions of the cortico-cerebello-thalamocortical circuit are involved in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. This study explores the effects of cerebellar repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on cerebello-thalamocortical pathways.

Methods: Ten healthy volunteers received MRI-guided rTMS in four separate sessions (120% motor threshold, 1000 stimuli) over either the medial or the right lateral cerebellum using frequencies of 1 and 10 Hz. Motor cortex excitability was assessed before and after the intervention by paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Results: Depending on stimulation frequency, cerebellar rTMS differentially modified intracortical inhibition. Low frequency rTMS increased short intracortical inhibition (SICI), whereas high frequency rTMS had no significant effect on SICI.

Conclusions: These results suggest that rTMS over the cerebellum can modulate cerebello-thalamocortical pathways in a frequency-specific manner.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Thalamus / physiology*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation*
  • Young Adult