We investigated how corticospinal excitability of the resting digit muscles was modulated by the digit movement in the ipsilateral limb. Subjects performed cyclical extension- flexion movements of either the right toes or fingers. To determine whether corticospinal excitability of the resting digit muscles was modulated on the basis of movement direction or action coupling between ipsilateral digits, the right forearm was maintained in either the pronated or supinated position. During the movement, the motor evoked potential (MEP) elicited by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was measured from either the resting right finger extensor and flexor, or toe extensor and flexor. For both finger and toe muscles, independent of forearm position, MEP amplitude of the flexor was greater during ipsilateral digit flexion as compared to extension, and MEP amplitude of the extensor was greater during ipsilateral digit extension as compared to flexion. An exception was that MEP amplitude of the toe flexor with the supinated forearm did not differ between during finger extension and flexion. These findings suggest that digit movement modulates corticospinal excitability of the digits of the ipsilateral limb such that the same action is preferred. Our results provide evidence for a better understanding of neural interactions between ipsilateral limbs, and may thus contribute to neurorehabilitation after a stroke or incomplete spinal cord injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas