One-Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of the premotor cortex alters reciprocal inhibition in DYT1 dystonia

Authors

  • Ying-Zu Huang MD,

    1. The Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London, United Kingdom
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  • Mark J. Edwards MRCP,

    1. The Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London, United Kingdom
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  • Kailash P. Bhatia FRCP,

    1. The Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London, United Kingdom
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  • John C. Rothwell PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. The Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London, United Kingdom
    • The Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) can produce long-lasting effects not only underneath the site of stimulation, but also at distant connected sites. This study aimed to assess how low frequency rTMS over the premotor area might affect abnormalities in spinal motor function in patients with generalised dystonia associated with the DYT1 gene mutation. We assessed reciprocal inhibition (RI) in a group of 8 manifesting carriers of the DYT1 gene (DYT1) and 10 healthy controls. All subjects then received 20 minutes of 1 Hz rTMS over the premotor area, and RI was assessed again. Before rTMS, the second and third phases of RI were abnormal in DYT1 subjects compared to controls. After 20 minutes of 1 Hz rTMS over the premotor area, a significant increase in inhibition was noted in the third and possibly the first phase of RI in the DYT1 group. No changes in RI were observed in control subjects after rTMS. We have shown for the first time to date that reducing cortical excitability in patients with dystonia using rTMS can produce corresponding changes in abnormal spinal motor output. These findings make a case for further exploring rTMS as a tool to modulate abnormal cortical and spinal excitability in individuals with dystonia and even as a potential form of treatment for dystonic symptoms. © 2003 Movement Disorder Society

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