Short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) has been studied with paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) by administering two pulses at a millisecond-scale interstimulus interval (ISI) to a single cortical target. It has, however, been difficult to study the interaction of nearby cortical targets with paired-pulse TMS. To overcome this limitation, we have developed a multi-locus TMS (mTMS) device, which allows controlling the stimulus location electronically. Here, we applied mTMS to study SICI in primary motor cortex with paired pulses targeted to adjacent locations, aiming to quantify the extent of the cortical region producing SICI in the location of a test stimulus. We varied the location and timing of the conditioning stimulus with respect to a test stimulus targeted to the cortical hotspot of the abductor pollicis brevis (APB) in order to study their effects on motor evoked potentials. We further applied a two-coil protocol with the conditioning stimulus given by an oval coil only to the surroundings of the APB hotspot, to which a subsequent test stimulus was administered with a figure-of-eight coil. The strongest SICI occurred at ISIs below 1 ms and at ISIs around 2.5 ms. These ISIs increased when the conditioning stimulus receded from the APB hotspot. Our two-coil paired-pulse TMS study suggests that SICI at ISIs of 0.5 and 2.5 ms originate from different mechanisms or neuronal elements.
- Motor cortex
- Motor evoked potential
- Multi-locus transcranial magnetic stimulation
- Short-interval intracortical inhibition
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation