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Clin Neurophysiol. 1999 Apr;110(4):748-56.

Demyelination and axonal degeneration in corpus callosum assessed by analysis of transcallosally mediated inhibition in multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Rostock, Germany.



Following focal transcranial magnetic cortex stimulation (fTMS), inhibition of voluntary EMG activity in the ipsilateral first dorsal interosseus (FDI) muscle was studied, in order to assess the functional integrity of the corpus callosum in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).


Thirty-four patients suffering from definite MS and 12 healthy, age-matched normal subjects were examined. In mid-sagittal slices, 29 patients showed lesions within the truncus corporis callosi in T2-weighted MRI. In 20 patients, all areas (anterior, middle and posterior parts), in one both the anterior and posterior part, in 3 exclusively the anterior, in 4 the middle and in one the posterior area were affected. In 5 patients, lesions of corpus callosum were lacking. In normal subjects, fTMS elicited a transient inhibition (TI) of preactivated (50% of maximal force) isometric voluntary ipsilateral FDI muscle activity. Mean onset latencies of TI were 35.5+/-5.4 ms in right and 36.1+/-4.2 ms in left FDI. Mean duration of TI amounted to 23.0+/-8.4 ms for right and 24.6+/-8.4 ms for left FDI. In the MS group, TI latencies were significantly increased in 23 and TI durations in 16 cases, whereas a lack of TI was found in 5 patients bilaterally and in 6 unilaterally. In patients, mean onset latencies of TI were 40.4+/-13.8 ms in right and 43.3+/-14.4 ms in left FDI, TI duration amounted to 30.5+/-17.4 ms for right and 31.0+/-25.2 ms for left FDI. Increase of onset latencies and durations of TI were positively correlated with the summed area of lesions of corpus callosum in representative mid-sagittal MRI slices. Significant correlations between TI onset latencies and duration on the one hand, and central motor conduction latencies along corticospinal tracts (CML) on the other hand, were not found.


The present investigation indicates that measurement of TI elicited by fTMS seems to be a sensitive method for an assessment of demyelination and axonal degeneration within corpus callosum in MS patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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