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J Neurol Sci. 2008 Jun 15;269(1-2):96-104. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2007.12.033. Epub 2008 Mar 11.

Intracortical inhibition and facilitation with unilateral dominant, unilateral nondominant and bilateral movement tasks in left- and right-handed adults.

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University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, 100 Penn Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States.



To investigate intracortical inhibition and facilitation in response to unilateral dominant, nondominant and bilateral biceps activation and short-term upper extremity training in right- and left-handed adults.


Paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to measure intracortical excitability in motor dominant and nondominant cortices of 26 nondisabled adults. Neural facilitation and inhibition were measured in each hemisphere during unilateral dominant, nondominant and bilateral arm activation and after training in each condition.


No differences were seen between right- and left-handed subjects. Intracortical facilitation and decreased inhibition were seen in each hemisphere with unilateral activation/training of contralateral muscles and bilateral muscle activation/training. Persistent intracortical inhibition was seen in each hemisphere with ipsilateral muscle activation/training. Inhibition was greater in the nondominant hemisphere during dominant hemisphere activation (dominant arm contraction).


Strongly dominant individuals show no difference in intracortical responses given handedness. Intracortical activity with unilateral and bilateral arm activation and short-term training differs based on hemispheric dominance, with the motor dominant hemisphere exerting a larger inhibitory influence over the nondominant hemisphere. Bilateral activation and training have a disinhibitory effect in both dominant and nondominant hemispheres.

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