Methylphenidate promotes the interaction between motor cortex facilitation and attention in healthy adults: A combined study using event-related potentials and transcranial magnetic stimulation

Brain Behav. 2018 Dec;8(12):e01155. doi: 10.1002/brb3.1155. Epub 2018 Nov 12.


Objective: This study investigated simultaneously the impact of methylphenidate (MPH) on the interaction of inhibitory and facilitative pathways in regions processing motor and cognitive functions.

Method: Neural markers of attention and response control (event-related potentials) and motor cortical excitability (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and their pharmacological modulation by MPH were measured simultaneously in a sample of healthy adults (n = 31) performing a cued choice reaction test.

Results: Methylphenidate modulated attentional gating and response preparation processes (increased contingent negative variation) and response inhibition (increased nogo P3). N1, cue- and go-P3 were not affected by MPH. Motor cortex facilitation, measured with long-interval cortical facilitation, was increased under MPH in the nogo condition and was positively correlated with the P3 amplitude.

Conclusion: Methylphenidate seems particularly to enhance response preparation processes. The MPH-induced increased motor cortex facilitation during inhibitory task demands was accompanied by increased terminal response inhibition control, probably as a compensatory process.

Keywords: CNV; ICF; P3; SICF; attention; event-related potentials; methylphenidate; motor control; transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Cortical Excitability / drug effects
  • Cues
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / pharmacology*
  • Motor Cortex / drug effects
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methylphenidate