Effects of Transcranial Static Magnetic Stimulation on Motor Cortex Evaluated by Different TMS Waveforms and Current Directions

Neuroscience. 2019 Aug 10;413:22-30. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2019.05.065. Epub 2019 Jun 10.


Transcranial static magnetic stimulation (tSMS) modulates cortical excitability probably by interacting with the GABA-glutamate intracortical balance. Different transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) waveforms probe distinct GABA-mediated cortical inhibition networks. The goal of the present work is to further characterize tSMS-induced changes in motor cortex reactivity and inhibition-excitation (I/E) balance. We hypothesized that tSMS affects particular cortical networks and thus, the effects of tSMS would be different depending on the TMS waveform used to assess its results. 23 healthy young adults completed two sessions of real or sham tSMS. The order of the sessions was randomized across participants. Motor evoked potentials (MEPs), cortical silent period (CSP), short- and long-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI and LICI), and intracortical facilitation (ICF) were assessed with TMS monophasic posterior-anterior (monoPA; n = 9), monophasic anterior-posterior (monoAP; n = 7), or biphasic (biAP-PA; n = 7) pulses. Repeated measures analyses of variance and appropriate pairwise comparisons were performed for each TMS measure. After 15 min of real tSMS, the MEP amplitudes decreased compared to sham and baseline, SICI and LICI showed greater inhibition, and a tendency towards longer CSPs and less facilitation was found. These results were only observed with monoPA TMS. MEP amplitude increased compared to sham with monoAP TMS, with no clear changes in general intracortical I/E balance. Biphasic TMS was not able to capture any effects of tSMS. The results show that the effects of tSMS on cortical excitability and inhibition involve specific interneuron circuits that are selectively activated by monoPA TMS.

Keywords: biphasic; current direction; monophasic; paired-pulse TMS; transcranial magnetic stimulation; transcranial static magnetic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation* / methods
  • Young Adult