Transcranial magnetic stimulation mapping of the motor cortex in normal subjects. The representation of two intrinsic hand muscles

J Neurol Sci. 1993 Sep;118(2):134-44. doi: 10.1016/0022-510x(93)90102-5.


The TMS-mapped representations of two intrinsic hand muscles, abductor pollicis brevis (APB) and abductor digiti minimi (ADM), were quantified using a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) mapping technique in 10 right handed and 6 left handed subjects. A 50 mm diameter figure eight coil was used. Stimulus sites were located using a latitude/longitude based coordinate system, stimulus intensity was threshold-adjusted and stimuli were applied during controlled low-level (10%) voluntary contraction of the target muscles. Maps of the corticomotor representation were generated by fitting a continuously defined three dimensional function to the data obtained from stimulation at specific scalp sites, and projecting this function onto a two dimensional surface using a radial projection. It was found that the mapped representations of APB and ADM were large and overlapping but that there was a statistically significant separation of the two areas, the APB area being more laterally placed than the ADM area. The TMS-mapped representations of the two muscles showed no significant interhemispheric differences and were similar in left and right handed subjects. Rotation of the magnetic coil through 90 degrees resulted in medial shift and elongation of the TMS-mapped representations but there was no change in the relative positions of the two areas. The TMS-mapped representations were found to be very reproducible when mapping was repeated after intervals of up to 181 days. The present technique of TMS mapping allows the representation of individual hand muscles in the primary motor cortex to be reliably and reproducibly mapped and should prove useful for further studies of the physiology and pathophysiology of the motor cortex in man.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Electromyography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscles / physiology*