Characterizing the corticomotor connectivity of the bilateral ankle muscles during rest and isometric contraction in healthy adults

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2018 Aug;41:9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2018.04.009. Epub 2018 Apr 24.


The investigation of the corticomotor connectivity (CMC) to leg muscles is an emerging research area, and establishing reliability of measures is critical. This study examined the measurement reliability and the differences between bilateral soleus (SOL) and tibialis anterior (TA) CMC in 21 neurologically intact adults. Using single pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), each muscle's CMC was assessed twice (7 ± 2 days apart) during rest and active conditions. CMC was quantified using a standardized battery of eight measures (4/condition): motor threshold during resting (RMT), motor evoked potential amplitude and latency (raw and normalized to height) in both conditions, contralateral silent period (CSP) during active. Using two reliability metrics (intraclass correlation coefficient and coefficient of variation of method error; good reliability: ≥0.75 and ≤15, respectively) and repeated-measures ANOVA, we investigated the reliability and Muscle X Body Side interaction. For both muscles, RMT, resting raw and normalized latencies, and active raw latency demonstrated good reliability, while CSP had good reliability only for TA. Amplitude did not demonstrate good reliability for both muscles. SOL CMC was significantly different from TA CMC for all measures but CSP; body side had no significant effect. Therefore, only certain measures may reliably quantify SOL and TA CMC while different CMC (except CSP) between SOL and TA suggests dissimilar corticospinal drive to each muscle regardless of the side.

Keywords: Lower extremity; Neuronavigation; Reliability; Soleus; Tibialis anterior; Transcranial magnetic stimulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiology*
  • Rest
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation