Hemodynamic responses evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be measured with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). This study demonstrates that cerebral neuronal activity is not their sole contributor. We compared bilateral NIRS responses following brain stimulation to those from the shoulders evoked by shoulder stimulation and contrasted them with changes in circulatory parameters. The left primary motor cortex of ten subjects was stimulated with 8-s repetitive TMS trains at 0.5, 1, and 2 Hz at an intensity of 75% of the resting motor threshold. Hemoglobin concentration changes were measured with NIRS on the stimulated and contralateral hemispheres. The photoplethysmograph (PPG) amplitude and heart rate were recorded as well. The left shoulder of ten other subjects was stimulated with the same protocol while the hemoglobin concentration changes in both shoulders were measured. In addition to PPG amplitude and heart rate, the pulse transit time was recorded. The brain stimulation reduced the total hemoglobin concentration (HbT) on the stimulated and contralateral hemispheres. The shoulder stimulation reduced HbT on the stimulated shoulder but increased it contralaterally. The waveforms of the HbT responses on the stimulated hemisphere and shoulder correlated strongly with each other (r = 0.65–0.87). All circulatory parameters were also affected. The results suggest that the TMS-evoked NIRS signal includes components that do not result directly from cerebral neuronal activity. These components arise from local effects of TMS on the vasculature. Also global circulatory effects due to arousal may affect the responses. Thus, studies involving TMS-evoked NIRS responses should be carefully controlled for physiological artifacts and effective artifact removal methods are needed to draw inferences about TMS-evoked brain activity.
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|