Different motor learning effects on excitability changes of motor cortex in muscle contraction state

Kenichi Sugawara, Shigeo Tanabe, Tomotaka Suzuki, Toshio Higashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We aimed to investigate whether motor learning induces different excitability changes in the human motor cortex (M1) between two different muscle contraction states (before voluntary contraction [static] or during voluntary contraction [dynamic]). For the same, using motor evoked potentials (MEPs) obtained by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), we compared excitability changes during these two states after pinch-grip motor skill learning. The participants performed a force output tracking task by pinch grip on a computer screen. TMS was applied prior to the pinch grip (static) and after initiation of voluntary contraction (dynamic). MEPs of the following muscles were recorded: first dorsal interosseous (FDI), thenar muscle (Thenar), flexor carpi radialis (FCR), and extensor carpi radialis (ECR) muscles. During both the states, motor skill training led to significant improvement of motor performance. During the static state, MEPs of the FDI muscle were significantly facilitated after motor learning; however, during the dynamic state, MEPs of the FDI, Thenar, and FCR muscles were significantly decreased. Based on the results of this study, we concluded that excitability changes in the human M1 are differentially influenced during different voluntary contraction states (static and dynamic) after motor learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-139
Number of pages7
JournalSomatosensory and Motor Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01-09-2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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