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Brain Res Bull. 2006 Mar 15;69(1):86-94. Epub 2005 Dec 1.

A direct demonstration of cortical LTP in humans: a combined TMS/EEG study.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, 6001 Research Park Boulevard, Madison, WI 53719, USA.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is increasingly being used to promote cortical reorganization, under the assumption that it can induce long-term potentiation (LTP) of neural responses. This assumption is supported by several lines of indirect evidence. For example, rTMS of motor cortex can induce a potentiation of muscle motor evoked potentials that outlasts the stimulation by several minutes. In animal models, a direct demonstration of LTP is typically obtained by high-frequency electrical stimulation coupled with local field recordings of population responses. In this study, we exploited a new approach based on combined rTMS/high-density electroencephalography (hd-EEG) to obtain direct, noninvasive evidence for LTP in humans. Cortical responses to single TMS pulses were measured with hd-EEG before and after applying rTMS to motor cortex (5Hz, 1500 pulses). The results demonstrate that, after rTMS, EEG responses at latencies of 15-55ms were significantly potentiated. A topographic analysis revealed that this potentiation was significant at EEG electrodes located bilaterally over premotor cortex. Thus, these findings provide a direct demonstration in humans of LTP induced by rTMS.

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