Cortical voluntary activation can be reliably measured in human wrist extensors using transcranial magnetic stimulation.
ABSTRACT A twitch interpolation technique using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was recently developed to measure motor cortical drive to human elbow flexors. Here, we described studies designed to test the applicability and reliability of the technique for the human wrist extensors and to provide new evidence regarding the sensitivity of the technique to inadvertent antagonist activation.
Study 1: we measured amplitudes of superimposed twitches (SITs) produced by TMS during wrist extension at intensities from rest to maximal voluntary contraction on two occasions (n=9). Study 2: we assessed the impact of inadvertent antagonist activation by TMS on measurement of voluntary activation using a muscle potentiation technique to increase mechanical efficiency of the wrist flexors (n=6).
The SITs decreased linearly between 25% and 100% MVC and voluntary activation could be reliably estimated across days (ICC(2,1)=0.963, p<0.001). Prior potentiation of the wrist flexors had little impact on extension SITs and voluntary activation.
TMS allows valid and reliable measurement of voluntary activation of the wrist extensors.
TMS can be used to assess effects of supraspinal fatigue, pathology and rehabilitation interventions on cortical activation in upper limb muscle groups.
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ABSTRACT: Abstract The aim of this commentary is to provide a brief overview of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and highlight how this technique can be used to investigate the acute and chronic responses of the central nervous system to exercise. We characterise the neuromuscular responses to TMS and discuss how these measures can be used to investigate the mechanisms of fatigue in response to locomotor exercise. We also discuss how TMS might be used to study the corticospinal adaptations to resistance exercise training, with particular emphasis on the responses to shortening/lengthening contractions and contralateral training. The limited data to date suggest that TMS is a valuable technique for exploring the mechanisms of central fatigue and neural adaptation.01/2014; 14(sup1):S332-S340. DOI:10.1080/17461391.2012.704079
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ABSTRACT: This review aims to characterize fatigue-related changes in corticospinal excitability and inhibition in healthy subjects. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been extensively used in recent years to investigate modifications within the brain during and after fatiguing exercise. Single-pulse TMS reveals reduction in motor-evoked potentials (MEP) when measured in relaxed muscle following sustained fatiguing contractions. This modulation of corticospinal excitability observed in relaxed muscle is probably not specific to the fatigue induced by the motor task. During maximal and submaximal fatiguing contractions, voluntary activation measured by TMS decreases, suggesting the presence of supraspinal fatigue. The demonstration of supraspinal fatigue does not eliminate the possibility of spinal contribution to central fatigue. Concomitant measurement of TMS-induced MEP and cervicomedullary MEP in the contracting muscle, appropriately normalized to maximal muscle compound action potential, is necessary to determine the relative contribution of cortical and spinal mechanisms in the development of central fatigue. Recent studies comparing electromyographic responses to paired-pulse stimuli at the cortical and subcortical levels suggest that impaired motoneuron responsiveness rather than intracortical inhibition may contribute to the development of central fatigue. This review examines the mechanical and EMG responses elicited by TMS (single- and paired-pulse) and cervicomedullary stimulation both during and after a fatiguing exercise. Particular attention is given to the muscle state and the type of fatiguing exercise when assessing and interpreting fatigue-induced changes in these parameters. Methodological concerns and future research interests are also considered.Neuroscience 01/2012; DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.10.058 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Flexor digitorum profundus (FDP), the sole flexor of the fingertips, is critical for tasks such as grasping. It is a compartmentalized multitendoned muscle with both neural and mechanical links between the fingers. We determined whether voluntary activation (VA), the level of neural drive to muscle, could be measured separately in its four compartments, whether VA differed between the fingers, and whether maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force and VA changed when the non-test fingers were extended from full flexion to 90° flexion to partially "disengage" the test finger. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the motor cortex was used to measure VA, in a position in which only FDP generated force at the fingertip. Despite differences among the fingers in MVCs, VA for each finger was ∼92% (n = 8), with no differences between fingers. When the test finger was partially disengaged by extending the other fingers to 90° flexion, performance was more variable both within and between subjects. MVCs decreased significantly by about 25-40% for the four fingers. However, VA was not significantly changed (n = 6) and was similar for the four fingers. In both positions, there were strong linear relationships between the voluntary forces and the superimposed twitch sizes, indicating that the method to measure VA was very reliable. Our results indicate that maximal VA is similar for all four compartments of FDP when force production by the other fingers is unconstrained. When altered mechanical connections between the compartments decrease voluntary force output there is little difference in neural drive.Journal of Neurophysiology 09/2010; 104(6):3213-21. DOI:10.1152/jn.00470.2010 · 3.04 Impact Factor