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Type: Journal article
Title: Preferential activation of unique motor cortical networks with transcranial magnetic stimulation: a review of the physiological, functional, and clinical evidence
Author: Opie, G.M.
Semmler, J.G.
Citation: Neuromodulation, 2021; 24(5):813-828
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 1094-7159
Statement of
George M. Opie, John G. Semmler
Abstract: Objectives: The corticospinal volley produced by application of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over primary motor cortex consists of a number of waves generated by trans-synaptic input from interneuronal circuits. These indirect (I)-waves mediate the sensitivity of TMS to cortical plasticity and intracortical excitability and can be assessed by altering the direction of cortical current induced by TMS. While this methodological approach has been conventionally viewed as preferentially recruiting early or late I-wave inputs from a given populations of neurons, growing evidence suggests recruitment of different neuronal populations, and this would strongly influence interpretation and application of these measures. The aim of this review is therefore to consider the physiological, functional, and clinical evidence for the independence of the neuronal circuits activated by different current directions. Materials and Methods: To provide the relevant context, we begin with an overview of TMS methodology, focusing on the different techniques used to quantify I-waves. We then comprehensively review the literature that has used variations in coil orientation to investigate the I-wave circuits, grouping studies based on the neurophysiological, functional, and clinical relevance of their outcomes. Results: Review of the existing literature reveals significant evidence supporting the idea that varying current direction can recruit different neuronal populations having unique functionally and clinically relevant characteristics. Conclusions: Further research providing greater characterization of the I-wave circuits activated with different current directions is required. This will facilitate the development of interventions that are able to modulate specific intracortical circuits, which will be an important application of TMS.
Keywords: AP TMS; cervical epidural recordings; current direction; intracortical motor circuits; I-waves; PA TMS; SICF; singlemotor unit recordings; transcranial magnetic stimulation
Rights: © 2020 International Neuromodulation Society
DOI: 10.1111/ner.13314
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