Changes in corticospinal excitability evoked by common peroneal nerve stimulation depend on stimulation frequency

Abstract

The afferent volley generated during neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) can increase the excitability of the human corticospinal (CS) pathway. This study was designed to determine the effect of different frequencies of NMES applied over the common peroneal nerve on changes in CS excitability for the tibialis anterior (TA) muscle. We hypothesized that higher frequencies of stimulation would produce larger increases in CS excitability than lower frequencies. NMES was applied at 10, 50, 100, or 200 Hz during separate sessions held at least 48 h apart. The stimulation was delivered in a 20 s on, 20 s off cycle for 40 min using a 1 ms pulse width. The intensity of stimulation was set to evoke an M-wave in response to a single pulse that was 15% of the maximal M-wave. CS excitability was evaluated by the amplitude of motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) in TA evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation. MEPs were recorded immediately before and after the 40 min of NMES and in each 20 s “off” period. For each subject, MEPs recorded during three successive “off” periods were averaged together (n = 9 MEPs), providing a temporal resolution of 2 min for assessing changes in CS excitability. When delivering NMES at 100 Hz, MEPs became significantly elevated from those evoked before the stimulation at the 24th min, and there was a twofold increase in MEP amplitude after 40 min. NMES delivered at 10, 50, and 200 Hz did not significantly alter MEP amplitude. The amplitude of MEPs evoked in soleus and vastus medialis followed similar patterns as those evoked simultaneously in TA, but these changes were mostly not of statistical significance. There were no changes in the ratio of maximal H-reflex to maximal M-wave in TA or soleus. These experiments demonstrate a frequency-dependent effect of NMES on CS excitability for TA and show that, under the conditions of the present study, 100-Hz stimulation was more effective than 10, 50, and 200 Hz. This effect of NMES on CS excitability was strongest in the stimulated muscle and may be mediated primarily at a supraspinal level. These results contribute to a growing body of knowledge about how the afferent volley generated during NMES influences the CNS and have implications for identifying optimal NMES parameters to augment CS excitability for rehabilitation of dorsiflexion after CNS injury.

DOI: 10.1007/s00221-010-2202-x

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@article{Mang2010ChangesIC, title={Changes in corticospinal excitability evoked by common peroneal nerve stimulation depend on stimulation frequency}, author={Cameron Scott Mang and Olle Lagerquist and David F. Collins}, journal={Experimental Brain Research}, year={2010}, volume={203}, pages={11-20} }