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Brain Res. 2009 Aug 18;1285:58-68. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.06.006. Epub 2009 Jun 11.

Changes in cerebral activations during movement execution and imagery after parietal cortex TMS interleaved with 3T MRI.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Groningen, Institute of Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. pm.devries@vumc.nl


The left parietal cortex contributes to goal-directed hand movement. In this study, we targeted this region with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to assess the effects on a wider distributed circuitry related to motor control. Ten healthy subjects underwent 3 Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with interleaved TMS. They either executed or imagined right wrist flexion/extension movements, which was preceded by a 10-second period either with or without TMS. This was applied to the left superior parietal cortex in 10 stimuli of 1 Hz at 115% motor threshold intensity. TMS preceding the movement execution condition resulted in significantly increased activation in the bilateral prefrontal, right temporo-parietal and left posterior parietal cortices, when compared to movement without such intervention (P<0.001 voxel-level; P<0.05, volume corrected). Movement imagery after TMS showed significantly increased activation in the left medial prefrontal cortex, right lateral prefrontal cortex, left supramarginal gyrus and right occipital cortex, while a decrease was present in bilateral anterior parietal cortex (P<0.01 voxel-level; P<0.05 volume corrected). Activation changes after TMS of left superior parietal cortex thus appears to increase prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex activation, associated with a reduced function of the anterior parietal cortex, including S2. These changes are thought to reflect an impaired ability to estimate the proprioceptive consequences of movement during its preparation, which is compensated by the increased contribution of more remote parietal and prefrontal cortical regions.

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