We used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to study corticospinal excitability to erector Spinae (ES) muscles during graded voluntary contractions in bilateral trunk extension (BTE) and forced expiratory breath holding (FEBH) in normal individuals. Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) could be produced in all subjects in the absence of voluntary activation. At maximum voluntary contraction, levels of surface electromyographic (EMG) activity were 4 times greater during BTE than FEBH. When EMG was normalized to maximum. MEP amplitudes increased in proportion to contraction in both tasks. MEPs in FEBH were compared with extrapolated values at similar EMG levels in BTE and were found to be larger. EMG and MEPs in left and right ES were symmetrical throughout the range of contractions in both tasks. ES muscles have a facilitation pattern similar to that previously shown in leg muscles, but subtle differences at low levels of EMG suggest that the facilitation is dependent on the task.
Alex V. Nowicky, Alison H. McGregor and Nick J. Davey
Nick J. Davey, Steve R. Rawlinson, David W. Maskill and Peter H. Ellaway
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the motor cortex was used to produce compound motor evoked potentials (cMEPs) in the first dorsal interosseus (FDI) muscle. The size of cMEPs was measured as an index of corticospinal excitability before and after initiation of a simple reaction task (SRT). The SRT, consisting of an abduction of the right index finger against a vertical support in response to a 1 kHz cueing tone, was performed in 6 healthy male subjects. cMEPs were facilitated when timed to occur just before the fastest simple reaction time (fSRT). When the cMEP was placed 15.5 ± 1.5 ms before the fSRT, its amplitude increased to 176 ± 36% of the control response seen in the relaxed state (no SRTs). Facilitation of the cMEP increased to 382 ± 43% of the control when it was placed 11.9 ± 1.5 ms after the fSRT. The facilitation of cMEP responses prior to the SRT is discussed with particular reference to the premovement potential that may be recorded over the cortex prior to a voluntary movement.