Send to

Choose Destination
J Physiol. 1994 Nov 15;481 ( Pt 1):243-50.

Transcranial electrical stimulation of the motor cortex in man: further evidence for the site of activation.

Author information

Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Prince Henry and Prince of Wales Hospitals, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


1. The motor cortex was stimulated electrically (vertex anode; cathode 6 cm lateral) in neurologically normal subjects undergoing surgery for scoliosis, and the evoked corticospinal volleys were recorded from the spinal cord using epidural electrodes. 2. Stimuli > 330 V produced a complex D-wave volley containing three separate peaks, with high-threshold components, 0.8 ms (D2) and 1.6 ms (D3), in advance of the lowest-threshold component (D1). As stimuli increased up to 1500 V, D3 replaced the later components completely, but there was no further latency 'jump'. 3. Brainstem stimulation using electrodes over each mastoid process produced a descending volley that had the same latencies as D3. At threshold, stimulation of the brainstem or spinal cord attenuated the D wave evoked by simultaneous cortical stimulation. 4. It is concluded that transcranial electrical stimulation of the motor cortex at high intensities can access corticospinal neurones at the pyramidal decussation, and that stimulation of the brainstem (and the spinal cord) preferentially accesses corticospinal axons. At threshold, motor cortex stimulation probably activates corticospinal neurones at or near the cerebral cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center