Fatigue suppresses ipsilateral intracortical facilitation

T. Bäumer*, A. Münchau, C. Weiller, J. Liepert

*Corresponding author for this work
27 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental data in animals and humans have demonstrated connections between right and left motor cortices. Interactions between these cortical areas can be explored with electrical or magnetic stimulation. In the present study we examined the interhemispheric effect of fatigue on intracortical facilitation (ICF) and inhibition (ICI) using a paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) paradigm. Ten healthy subjects performed pinch grips with their left hand with 50% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) until fatigue occurred. In the control experiment, the same number of pinch grips was performed with 5% MVC without inducing fatigue. Motor evoked potentials (MEP) produced by single and paired pulse TMS over the left motor cortex were recorded from right first dorsal interosseous muscle (FDI) and right abductor digiti minimi muscle (ADM) before and after the tasks. ICF of the right FDI was significantly reduced after fatigue (P = 0.0008). Fifteen minutes after finishing the task ICF had returned to baseline values. There was no change of ICF of right FDI in the control experiment without inducing fatigue. In both experiments the right ADM did not show significant MEP changes. Additional control experiments showed that M-responses and F-waves were unchanged in right FDI after performing the fatigue task with left FDI, and TMS test pulse amplitudes were significantly reduced in left FDI after fatigue. Fatigue caused by pinch grips induces a short-lasting and task-specific suppression of intracortical facilitation in the motor cortex of an homologous contralateral hand muscle. These results indicate interhemispheric interactions between the two motor cortices that are still effective after cessation of movements.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)467-473
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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