Transcranial magnetic stimulation with a half-sine wave pulse elicits direction-specific effects in human motor cortex

Nikolai H Jung, Igor Delvendahl, Astrid Pechmann, Bernhard Gleich, Norbert Gattinger, Volker Mall, Hartwig R Siebner

10 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) commonly uses so-called monophasic pulses where the initial rapidly changing current flow is followed by a critically dampened return current. It has been shown that a monophasic TMS pulse preferentially excites different cortical circuits in the human motor hand area (M1-HAND), if the induced tissue current has a posterior-to-anterior (PA) or anterior-to-posterior (AP) direction. Here we tested whether similar direction-specific effects could be elicited in M1-HAND using TMS pulses with a half-sine wave configuration.
RESULTS: In 10 young participants, we applied half-sine pulses to the right M1-HAND which elicited PA or AP currents with respect to the orientation of the central sulcus.Measurements of the motor evoked potential (MEP) revealed that PA half-sine stimulation resulted in lower resting motor threshold (RMT) than AP stimulation. When SI was gradually increased as percentage of maximal stimulator output, the stimulus--response curve (SRC) of MEP amplitude showed a leftward shift for PA as opposed to AP half-sine stimulation. Further, MEP latencies were approximately 1 ms shorter for PA relative to AP half-sine stimulation across the entire stimulus intensity (SI) range tested. When adjusting SI to the respective RMT of PA and AP stimulation, the direction-specific differences in MEP latencies persisted, while the gain function of MEP amplitudes was comparable for PA and AP stimulation.
CONCLUSIONS: Using half-sine pulse configuration, single-pulse TMS elicits consistent direction-specific effects in M1-HAND that are similar to TMS with monophasic pulses. The longer MEP latency for AP half-sine stimulation suggests that PA and AP half-sine stimulation preferentially activates different sets of cortical neurons that are involved in the generation of different corticospinal descending volleys.
Original languageEnglish
JournalB M C Neuroscience
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)139
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2012


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