Phase and power modulations on the amplitude of TMS-induced motor evoked potentials



The evaluation of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)-induced motor evoked potentials (MEPs) promises valuable information about fundamental brain related mechanisms and may serve as a diagnostic tool for clinical monitoring of therapeutic progress or surgery procedures. However, reports about spontaneous fluctuations of MEP amplitudes causing high intra-individual variability have led to increased concerns about the reliability of this measure. One possible cause for high variability of MEPs could be neuronal oscillatory activity, which reflects fluctuations of membrane potentials that systematically increase and decrease the excitability of neuronal networks. Here, we investigate the dependence of MEP amplitude on oscillation power and phase by combining the application of single pulse TMS over the primary motor cortex with concurrent recordings of electromyography and electroencephalography. Our results show that MEP amplitude is correlated to alpha phase, alpha power as well as beta phase. These findings may help explain corticospinal excitability fluctuations by highlighting the modulatory effect of alpha and beta phase on MEPs. In the future, controlling for such a causal relationship may allow for the development of new protocols, improve this method as a (diagnostic) tool and increase the specificity and efficacy of general TMS applications.
Date made available1 Sept 2021

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