Combined effect of motor imagery and peripheral nerve electrical stimulation on the motor cortex

Kei Saito, Tomofumi Yamaguchi, Naoshin Yoshida, Shigeo Tanabe, Kunitsugu Kondo, Kenichi Sugawara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although motor imagery enhances the excitability of the corticospinal tract, there are no peripheral afferent inputs during motor imagery. In contrast, peripheral nerve electrical stimulation (ES) can induce peripheral afferent inputs; thus, a combination of motor imagery and ES may enhance the excitability of the corticospinal tract compared with motor imagery alone. Moreover, the level of stimulation intensity may also be related to the modulation of the excitability of the corticospinal tract during motor imagery. Here, we evaluated whether a combination of motor imagery and peripheral nerve ES influences the excitability of the corticospinal tract and measured the effect of ES intensity on the excitability induced during motor imagery. The imagined task was a movement that involved touching the thumb to the little finger, whereas ES involved simultaneous stimulation of the ulnar and median nerves at the wrist. Two different ES intensities were used, one above the motor threshold and another above the sensory threshold. Further, we evaluated whether actual movement with afferent input induced by ES modulates the excitability of the corticospinal tract as well as motor imagery. We found that a combination of motor imagery and ES enhanced the excitability of the motor cortex in the thenar muscle compared with the other condition. Furthermore, we established that the modulation of the corticospinal tract was related to ES intensity. However, we found that the excitability of the corticospinal tract induced by actual movement was enhanced by peripheral nerve ES above the sensory threshold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-342
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume227
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01-06-2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

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