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Keywords:

  • F-wave;
  • poststroke;
  • repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS);
  • spinal cord excitability

Objective

High-intensity and high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the primary motor cortex was carried out in poststroke patients with increased spasticity, and the changes in F-wave parameters in comparison with M-wave parameters induced by rTMS were examined.

Methods

Ten-hertz rTMS pulses were delivered to the primary motor cortex of the lesion side at 110% intensity of the resting motor threshold, and F-waves were obtained from the first dorsal interosseous muscle. F-waves were recorded before (pre-stim) and immediately after the end of rTMS (post-stim) in poststroke patients.

Results

F-wave persistence and F/M Amp.Ratio increased significantly in patients with lesions in upper motor tract as compared with healthy subjects (Wilcoxon rank sum test, p = 0.00023 and p = 0.0073, respectively). After the rTMS application, both F-wave persistence and F/M Amp.Ratio decreased significantly (paired t-test, p = 0.0095 and p = 0.037, respectively). However, the F-wave amplitude did not show a statistically significant variance in poststroke patients.

Conclusions

High-frequency suprathreshold rTMS may suppress the F-waves by enhancing the inhibitory effect on spinal excitability through the corticospinal tract, and F-wave persistence and F/M Amp.Ratio can be used to determine the effect of rTMS on patients with increased spasticity.