Conditions for enhancing the encoding of an elementary motor memory by rTMS.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Motor learning results in changes of movement representation in primary motor cortex (M1) a process involving long-term potentiation (LTP). Pairing motor training with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of M1 enhances the formation of a motor memory. Here we determined the effect of pairing M1 stimulation and the execution of training movements at different times and frequencies on the formation of a motor memory.


Formation of a motor memory was defined as increases in motor evoked potentials (MEP) of the training agonist (extensor carpi ulnaris muscle, ECU) and increases in peak acceleration of the trained movements that last more than 60min. Training consisted of auditory-paced ballistic wrist extension movements (30min, 0.5Hz) paired with 0.1, 0.25 or 0.5Hz subthreshold rTMS. The rTMS pulse was applied at either the onset, 100ms prior to or 300ms after the onset of training movement related increases in electromyographic (EMG) activity of ECU. This was compared to a Sham condition.


Only 0.1Hz rTMS applied at the onset of the training related increase in ECU-EMG activity resulted in increases in MEP amplitudes and peak acceleration when compared to the Sham.


The formation of motor memory is enhanced above the naïve level by co-administration of low frequency rTMS at the time of execution of training movements.


These results indicate the importance of time and frequency of rTMS in these settings and should be considered in the design of rehabilitation treatment strategies using rTMS.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Buetefisch, CM; Howard, C; Korb, C; Haut, MW; Shuster, L; Pergami, P; Smith, C; Hobbs, G

Published Date

  • March 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 126 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 581 - 593

PubMed ID

  • 25113275

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4485439

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-8952

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1388-2457

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.clinph.2014.07.006


  • eng