Charting the excitability of premotor to motor connections while withholding or initiating a selected movement

Johan Kroeger*, Tobias Bäumer, Melanie Jonas, John C. Rothwell, Hartwig R. Siebner, Alexander Münchau

*Corresponding author for this work
37 Citations (Scopus)


In 19 healthy volunteers, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to probe the excitability in pathways linking the left dorsal premotor cortex and right primary motor cortex and those linking the left and right motor cortex during the response delay and the reaction time period while subjects performed a delayed response [symbol 1 (S1) - symbol 2 (S2)] Go-NoGo reaction time task with visual cues. Conditioning TMS pulses were applied to the left premotor or left motor cortex 8 ms before a test pulse was given to the right motor cortex at 300 or 1800 ms after S1 or 150 ms after S2. S1 coded for right-hand or left-hand movement, and S2 for release or stopping the prepared movement. Conditioning of the left premotor cortex led to interhemispheric inhibition at 300 ms post-S1, interhemispheric facilitation at 150 ms post-S2, and shorter reaction times in the move-left condition. Conditioning of the left motor cortex led to inhibition at 1800 ms post-S1 and 150 ms post-S2, and slower reaction times for move-right conditions, and inhibition at 300 and 1800 ms post-S1 for move-left conditions. Relative motor evoked potential amplitudes following premotor conditioning at 150 ms post-S2 were significantly smaller in 'NoGo' than in 'Go' trials for move-left instructions. We conclude that the excitability in left premotor/motor right motor pathways is context-dependent and affects motor behaviour. Thus, the left premotor cortex is engaged not only in action selection but also in withholding and releasing a preselected movement generated by the right motor cortex.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1771-1779
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 11.2010


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