Low-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation over left dorsal premotor cortex improves the dynamic control of visuospatially cued actions

Nick S Ward, Sven Bestmann, Gesa Hartwigsen, Michael M Weiss, Lars O D Christensen, Richard S J Frackowiak, John C Rothwell, Hartwig R Siebner

45 Citations (Scopus)


Left rostral dorsal premotor cortex (rPMd) and supramarginal gyrus (SMG) have been implicated in the dynamic control of actions. In 12 right-handed healthy individuals, we applied 30 min of low-frequency (1 Hz) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over left rPMd to investigate the involvement of left rPMd and SMG in the rapid adjustment of actions guided by visuospatial cues. After rTMS, subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while making spatially congruent button presses with the right or left index finger in response to a left- or right-sided target. Subjects were asked to covertly prepare motor responses as indicated by a directional cue presented 1 s before the target. On 20% of trials, the cue was invalid, requiring subjects to readjust their motor plan according to the target location. Compared with sham rTMS, real rTMS increased the number of correct responses in invalidly cued trials. After real rTMS, task-related activity of the stimulated left rPMd showed increased task-related coupling with activity in ipsilateral SMG and the adjacent anterior intraparietal area (AIP). Individuals who showed a stronger increase in left-hemispheric premotor-parietal connectivity also made fewer errors on invalidly cued trials after rTMS. The results suggest that rTMS over left rPMd improved the ability to dynamically adjust visuospatial response mapping by strengthening left-hemispheric connectivity between rPMd and the SMG-AIP region. These results support the notion that left rPMd and SMG-AIP contribute toward dynamic control of actions and demonstrate that low-frequency rTMS can enhance functional coupling between task-relevant brain regions and improve some aspects of motor performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number27
Pages (from-to)9216-23
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2010


  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cues
  • Frontal Lobe
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oxygen
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time
  • Space Perception
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • Young Adult


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