Motor Cortical Plasticity to Training Started in Childhood: The Example of Piano Players.
ABSTRACT: Converging evidence suggest that motor training is associated with early and late changes of the cortical motor system. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers the possibility to study plastic rearrangements of the motor system in physiological and pathological conditions. We used TMS to characterize long-term changes in upper limb motor cortical representation and interhemispheric inhibition associated with bimanual skill training in pianists who started playing in an early age. Ipsilateral silent period (iSP) and cortical TMS mapping of hand muscles were obtained from 30 strictly right-handed subjects (16 pianists, 14 naïve controls), together with electromyographic recording of mirror movements (MMs) to voluntary hand movements. In controls, motor cortical representation of hand muscles was larger on the dominant (DH) than on the non-dominant hemisphere (NDH). On the contrary, pianists showed symmetric cortical output maps, being their DH less represented than in controls. In naïve subjects, the iSP was smaller on the right vs left abductor pollicis brevis (APB) indicating a weaker inhibition from the NDH to the DH. In pianists, interhemispheric inhibition was more symmetric as their DH was better inhibited than in controls. Electromyographic MMs were observed only in naïve subjects (7/14) and only to voluntary movement of the non-dominant hand. Subjects with MM had a lower iSP area on the right APB compared with all the others. Our findings suggest a more symmetrical motor cortex organization in pianists, both in terms of muscle cortical representation and interhemispheric inhibition. Although we cannot disentangle training-related from preexisting conditions, it is possible that long-term bimanual practice may reshape motor cortical representation and rebalance interhemispheric interactions, which in naïve right-handed subjects would both tend to favour the dominant hemisphere.
Project description:Background/Objective. We investigated interhemispheric interactions in stroke survivors by measuring transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)-evoked cortical coherence. We tested the effect of TMS on interhemispheric coherence during rest and active muscle contraction and compared coherence in stroke and older adults. We evaluated the relationships between interhemispheric coherence, paretic motor function, and the ipsilateral cortical silent period (iSP). Methods. Participants with (n = 19) and without (n = 14) chronic stroke either rested or maintained a contraction of the ipsilateral hand muscle during simultaneous recordings of evoked responses to TMS of the ipsilesional/nondominant (i/ndM1) and contralesional/dominant (c/dM1) primary motor cortex with EEG and in the hand muscle with EMG. We calculated pre- and post-TMS interhemispheric beta coherence (15-30 Hz) between motor areas in both conditions and the iSP duration during the active condition. Results. During active i/ndM1 TMS, interhemispheric coherence increased immediately following TMS in controls but not in stroke. Coherence during active cM1 TMS was greater than iM1 TMS in the stroke group. Coherence during active iM1 TMS was less in stroke participants and was negatively associated with measures of paretic arm motor function. Paretic iSP was longer compared with controls and negatively associated with clinical measures of manual dexterity. There was no relationship between coherence and. iSP for either group. No within- or between-group differences in coherence were observed at rest. Conclusions. TMS-evoked cortical coherence during hand muscle activation can index interhemispheric interactions associated with poststroke motor function and potentially offer new insights into neural mechanisms influencing functional recovery.
Project description:The neuronal mechanisms involved in brain plasticity after skilled motor learning are not completely understood. We aimed to study the short-term effects of keyboard training in music-naive subjects on the motor/premotor cortex activity and interhemispheric interactions, using electroencephalography and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Twelve subjects (experimental group) underwent, before and after a two week-piano training: (1) hand-motor function tests: Jamar, grip and nine-hole peg tests; (2) electroencephalography, evaluating the mu rhythm task-related desynchronization (TRD) during keyboard performance; and (3) TMS, targeting bilateral abductor pollicis brevis (APB) and abductor digiti minimi (ADM), to obtain duration and area of ipsilateral silent period (ISP) during simultaneous tonic contraction of APB and ADM. Data were compared with 13 controls who underwent twice these measurements, in a two-week interval, without undergoing piano training. Every subject in the experimental group improved keyboard performance and left-hand nine-hole peg test scores. Pre-training, ISP durations were asymmetrical, left being longer than right. Post-training, right ISPAPB increased, leading to symmetrical ISPAPB. Mu TRD during motor performance became more focal and had a lesser amplitude than in pre-training, due to decreased activity over ventral premotor cortices. No such changes were evidenced in controls. We demonstrated that a 10-day piano-training was associated with balanced interhemispheric interactions both at rest and during motor activation. Piano training, in a short timeframe, may reshape local and inter-hemispheric motor cortical circuits.
Project description:Objective: Data from previous cross-sectional studies have shown that an increased level of physical fitness is associated with improved motor dexterity across the lifespan. In addition, physical fitness is positively associated with increased laterality of cortical function during unimanual tasks; indicating that sedentary aging is associated with a loss of interhemispheric inhibition affecting motor performance. The present study employed exercise interventions in previously sedentary older adults to compare motor dexterity and measure of interhemispheric inhibition using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) after the interventions. Methods: Twenty-one community-dwelling, reportedly sedentary older adults were recruited, randomized and enrolled to a 12-week aerobic exercise group or a 12-week non-aerobic exercise balance condition. The aerobic condition was comprised of an interval-based cycling "spin" activity, while the non-aerobic "balance" exercise condition involved balance and stretching activities. Participants completed upper extremity dexterity batteries and estimates of VO2max in addition to undergoing single (ipsilateral silent period-iSP) and paired-pulse interhemispheric inhibition (ppIHI) in separate assessment sessions before and after study interventions. After each intervention during which heart rate was continuously recorded to measure exertion level (load), participants crossed over into the alternate arm of the study for an additional 12-week intervention period in an AB/BA design with no washout period. Results: After the interventions, regardless of intervention order, participants in the aerobic spin condition showed higher estimated VO2max levels after the 12-week intervention as compared to estimated VO2max in the non-aerobic balance intervention. After controlling for carryover effects due to the study design, participants in the spin condition showed longer iSP duration than the balance condition. Heart rate load was more strongly correlated with silent period duration after the Spin condition than estimated VO2. Conclusions: Aging-related changes in cortical inhibition may be influenced by 12-week physical activity interventions when assessed with the iSP. Although inhibitory signaling is mediates both ppIHI and iSP measures each TMS modality likely employs distinct inhibitory networks, potentially differentially affected by aging. Changes in inhibitory function after physical activity interventions may be associated with improved dexterity and motor control at least as evidence from this feasibility study show.
Project description:Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are well-established tools for investigating the human motor system in-vivo. We here studied the relationship between movement-related fMRI signal changes in the primary motor cortex (M1) and electrophysiological properties of the hand motor area assessed with neuronavigated TMS in 17 healthy subjects. The voxel showing the highest task-related BOLD response in the left hand motor area during right hand movements was identified for each individual subject. This fMRI peak voxel in M1 served as spatial target for coil positioning during neuronavigated TMS. We performed correlation analyses between TMS parameters, BOLD signal estimates and effective connectivity parameters of M1 assessed with dynamic causal modeling (DCM). The results showed a negative correlation between the movement-related BOLD signal in left M1 and resting as well as active motor threshold (MT) obtained for left M1. The DCM analysis revealed that higher excitability of left M1 was associated with a stronger coupling between left supplementary motor area (SMA) and M1. Furthermore, BOLD activity in left M1 correlated with ipsilateral silent period (ISP), i.e. the stronger the task-related BOLD response in left M1, the higher interhemispheric inhibition effects targeting right M1. DCM analyses revealed a positive correlation between the coupling of left SMA with left M1 and the duration of ISP. The data show that TMS parameters assessed for the hand area of M1 do not only reflect the intrinsic properties at the stimulation site but also interactions with remote areas in the human motor system.
Project description:TMS-evoked cortical responses can be measured using simultaneous electroencephalography (TMS-EEG) to directly quantify cortical connectivity in the human brain. The purpose of this study was to evaluate interhemispheric cortical connectivity between the primary motor cortices (M1s) in participants with chronic stroke and controls using TMS-EEG. Ten participants with chronic stroke and four controls were tested. TMS-evoked responses were recorded at rest and during a typical TMS assessment of transcallosal inhibition (TCI). EEG recordings from peri-central gyral electrodes (C3 and C4) were evaluated using imaginary phase coherence (IPC) analyses to quantify levels of effective interhemispheric connectivity. Significantly increased TMS-evoked beta (15-30Hz frequency range) IPC was observed in the stroke group during ipsilesional M1 stimulation compared to controls during TCI assessment but not at rest. TMS-evoked beta IPC values were associated with TMS measures of transcallosal inhibition across groups. These results suggest TMS-evoked EEG responses can index abnormal effective interhemispheric connectivity in chronic stroke.
Project description:Older adults exhibit more bilateral motor cortical activity during unimanual task performance than young adults. Interestingly, a similar pattern is seen in young adults with reduced hand dominance. However, older adults report stronger hand dominance than young adults, making it unclear how handedness is manifested in the aging motor cortex. Here, we investigated age differences in the relationships between handedness, motor cortical organization, and interhemispheric communication speed. We hypothesized that relationships between these variables would differ for young and older adults, consistent with our recent proposal of an age-related shift in interhemispheric interactions. We mapped motor cortical representations of the right and left first dorsal interosseous muscles using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in young and older adults recruited to represent a broad range of the handedness spectrum. We also measured interhemispheric communication speed and bimanual coordination. We observed that more strongly handed older adults exhibited more ipsilateral motor activity in response to TMS; this effect was not present in young adults. Furthermore, we found opposing relationships between interhemispheric communication speed and bimanual performance in the two age groups. Thus, handedness manifests itself differently in the motor cortices of young and older adults and has interactive effects with age.
Project description:Motor maps acquired with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are evolving as a biomarker for monitoring disease progression or the effects of therapeutic interventions. High test-retest reliability of this technique for long observation periods is therefore required to differentiate daily or weekly fluctuations from stable plastic reorganization of corticospinal connectivity. In this study, a novel projection, interpolation, and coregistration technique, which considers the individual gyral anatomy, was applied in healthy subjects for biweekly acquired TMS motor maps over a period of twelve weeks. The intraclass correlation coefficient revealed long-term reliability of motor maps with relevant interhemispheric differences. The sensorimotor cortex and nonprimary motor areas of the dominant hemisphere showed more extended and more stable corticospinal connectivity. Long-term correlations of the MEP amplitudes at each stimulation site revealed mosaic-like clusters of consistent corticospinal excitability. The resting motor threshold, centre of gravity, and mean MEPs across all TMS sites, as highly reliable cortical map parameters, could be disentangled from more variable parameters such as MEP area and volume. Cortical TMS motor maps provide high test-retest reliability for long-term monitoring when analyzed with refined techniques. They may guide restorative interventions which target dormant corticospinal connectivity for neurorehabilitation.
Project description:Brain activity during motor performance becomes more widespread and less lateralized with advancing age in response to ongoing degenerative processes. In this study, we were interested in the mechanism by which this change in the pattern of activity supports motor performance with advancing age. We used both transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess age related changes in motor system connectivity during isometric hand grip. Paired pulse TMS was used to measure the change in interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) from contralateral M1 (cM1) to ipsilateral M1 (iM1) during right hand grip. Dynamic Causal Modelling (DCM) of fMRI data was used to investigate the effect of age on causal interactions throughout the cortical motor network during right hand grip. Bayesian model selection was used to identify the causal model that best explained the data for all subjects. Firstly, we confirmed that the TMS and DCM measures both demonstrated a less inhibitory/more facilitatory influence of cM1 on iM1 during hand grip with advancing age. These values correlated with one another providing face validity for our DCM measures of connectivity. We found increasing reciprocal facilitatory influences with advancing age (i) between all ipsilateral cortical motor areas and (ii) between cortical motor areas of both hemispheres and iM1. There were no differences in the performance of our task with ageing suggesting that the ipsilateral cortical motor areas, in particular iM1, play a central role in maintaining performance levels with ageing through increasingly facilitatory cortico-cortical influences.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The two human cerebral hemispheres are continuously interacting, through excitatory and inhibitory influences and one critical structure subserving this interhemispheric balance is the corpus callosum. Interhemispheric neurophysiological abnormalities and intrahemispheric behavioral impairments have been reported in individuals lacking the corpus callosum. The aim of this study was to examine intrahemispheric neurophysiological function in primary motor cortex devoid of callosal projections.<h4>Methods</h4>Intracortical excitatory and inhibitory systems were tested in three individuals with complete agenesis of the corpus callosum and sixteen healthy individuals. These systems were assessed using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) protocols: motor threshold at rest, paired-pulse curve, and cortical silent period.<h4>Results</h4>TMS revealed no difference between the patient and control groups on the motor threshold measure, as well as intracortical facilitation and intracortical inhibition systems as tested by paired stimulation. However, intrahemispheric inhibitory function was found to be abnormal in participants without callosal projections, as the cortical silent period duration was significantly increased in the patient group.<h4>Conclusion</h4>These data suggest that in addition to previously reported impaired interhemispheric function, patients lacking the entire corpus callosum also display abnormal intrahemispheric excitability of the primary motor cortex.
Project description:The activity of excitatory and inhibitory neural circuits in the motor cortex can be probed and modified by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and repetitive TMS (rTMS), noninvasively. At present, not only has a consensus regarding the interhemispheric effect of high frequency rTMS not been reached, but the attributes of these TMS-related circuits are also poorly understood. To address this question comprehensively, we integrated a single- and paired-pulse TMS evaluation with excitatory 20-Hz rTMS intervention in order to probe the interhemispheric effect on the intracortical circuits by high-frequency rTMS. In the rest state, after 20-Hz rTMS, a significant increase of single-pulse MEP and paired-pulse intracortical facilitation (ICF) in the non-stimulated hemisphere was observed with good test-retest reliability. Intracortical inhibition (measured by the cortical silent period) in the unstimulated hemisphere also increased after rTMS. No significant time-course change was observed in the sham-rTMS group. The results provide the evidence that 20-Hz rTMS induced a reliable interhemispheric facilitatory effect. Findings from the present study suggest that the glutamatergic facilitatory system and the GABAergic inhibitory system may vary synchronously.