February 27, 2021

Does pericentral mu-rhythm power corticomotor excitability? A matter of EEG perspective

Background: Electroencephalography (EEG) and single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (spTMS) of the primary motor hand area (M1-HAND) have been combined to explore whether the instantaneous expression of pericentral mu-rhythm drives fluctuations in corticomotor excitability, but this line of research has yielded diverging results. Objectives: To re-assess the relationship between the mu-rhythm power expressed in left pericentral cortex and the amplitude of motor potentials (MEP) evoked with spTMS in left M1-HAND. Methods: 15 non-preselected healthy young participants received spTMS to the motor hot spot of left M1-HAND. Regional expression of mu-rhythm was estimated online based on a radial source at motor hotspot and informed the timing of spTMS which was applied either during epochs belonging to the highest or lowest quartile of regionally expressed mu-power. Using MEP amplitude as dependent variable, we computed a linear mixed-effects model, which included mu-power and mu-phase at the time of stimulation and the inter-stimulus interval (ISI) as fixed effects and subject as a random effect. Mu-phase was estimated by post-hoc sorting of trials into four discrete phase bins. We performed a follow-up analysis on the same EEG-triggered MEP data set in which we isolated mu-power at the sensor level using a Laplacian montage centered on the electrode above the M1-HAND. Results: Pericentral mu-power traced as radial source at motor hot spot did not significantly modulate the MEP, but mu-power determined by the surface Laplacian did, showing a positive relation between mu-power and MEP amplitude. In neither case, there was an effect of mu-phase on MEP amplitude.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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