Corpus callosum connects the bilateral primary motor cortices (M1s) and plays an important role in motor control. Using the paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) paradigm, we can measure interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) and interhemispheric facilitation (IHF) as indexes of the interhemispheric interactions in humans. We investigated how quadripulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (QPS), one form of repetitive TMS (rTMS), on M1 affects the contralateral M1 and the interhemispheric interactions. QPS is able to induce bidirectional plastic changes in M1 depending on the interstimulus intervals (ISIs) of TMS pulses: long-term potentiation (LTP)-like effect by QPS-5 protocol, and long-term depression-like effect by QPS-50, whose numbers indicate the ISI (ms). Twelve healthy subjects were enrolled. We applied QPS over the left M1 and recorded several parameters before and 30 min after QPS. QPS-5, which increased motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) induced by left M1 activation, also increased MEPs induced by right M1 activation. Meanwhile, QPS-50, which decreased MEPs elicited by left M1 activation, did not induce any significant changes in MEPs elicited by right M1 activation. None of the resting motor threshold, active motor threshold, short-interval intracortical inhibition, long-interval intracortical inhibition, intracortical facilitation, and short-interval intracortical inhibition in right M1 were affected by QPS. IHI and IHF from left to right M1 significantly increased after left M1 QPS-5. The degree of left first dorsal interosseous MEP amplitude change by QPS-5 significantly correlated with the degree of IHF change. We suppose that the LTP-like effect on the contralateral M1 may be produced by some interhemispheric interactions through the corpus callosum.
Keywords: corpus callosum; interhemispheric facilitation; interhemispheric inhibition; plasticity; repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.