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Clin Neurophysiol. 2003 Oct;114(10):1800-7.

Interhemispheric effects of high and low frequency rTMS in healthy humans.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. agorsler@uke.uni-hamburg.de



We investigated whether repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied to the right motor cortex modified the excitability of the unstimulated left motor cortex.


Interhemispheric effects of 0.5 and 5 Hz subthreshold rTMS over the right motor cortex were examined by single pulse and paired pulse TMS and by transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) applied to the unstimulated left motor cortex. The effects of (a) 1800 pulses real and sham rTMS with 5 Hz, (b) 180 pulses real and sham rTMS with 0.5 Hz and (c) 1800 pulses real rTMS with 0.5 Hz were studied.


Following 5 Hz right motor rTMS motor evoked potential (MEP) amplitudes induced by single pulse TMS over the left motor cortex increased significantly. Intracortical inhibition (ICI) and facilitation (ICF) and MEP amplitudes evoked by TES were unchanged. Sham stimulation had no influence on motor cortex excitability. After 180 pulses right motor cortex rTMS with 0.5 Hz a significant decrease of left motor ICF, but no change in single pulse MEP amplitudes was found. A similar trend was observed with 1800 pulses rTMS with 0.5 Hz.


High frequency right motor rTMS can increase left motor cortex excitability whereas low frequency right motor rTMS can decrease it. These effects outlast the rTMS by several minutes. The underlying mechanisms mediating interhemispheric excitability changes are likely to be frequency dependent.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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