Impact of β-range-induced oscillatory activity on human input–output relationship of the corticospinal pathway
Objective : The aim of the study was to show that short-lasting (90 s) transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) at 20 Hz delivered over the left primary motor cortex (M1) is able to change the shape of recruitment curve of the corticospinal pathway.
Methods : The corticospinal pathway was studied during tACS by means of the relationship between the intensity of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) delivered over the left M1 and corresponding motor evoked potentials (MEPs) recorded from the right first dorsal interosseus muscle (FDI), in nine healthy subjects. In order to extract characteristics of the input – output relationship that have particular physiological relevance, data were fitted to the Boltzmann sigmoidal function by the Levenberg – Marquardt nonlinear, least mean squares algorithm.
Results : The β-rhythm tACS influenced the shape and parameters of the input – output relation, so that the initial segment of the conditioned curve (from threshold to 30% of maximum muscle size) diverged, while the subsequent segment converged to overlap the unconditioned control curve.
Discussion : β-rhythm tACS conditions only a definite subset of corticospinal elements influencing less than 30% of the entire motoneuronal pool. The fact that β-rhythm tACS mainly affects the most excitable motoneurons could explain the observed antikinetic effect of the tACS at β-rhythm applied in the motor regions.