Corticospinal excitability is dependent on the parameters of peripheral electrical stimulation: A preliminary study

Chipchase, Lucy S., Schabrun, Siobhan M. and Hodges, Paul W. (2011) Corticospinal excitability is dependent on the parameters of peripheral electrical stimulation: A preliminary study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 92 9: 1423-1430. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2011.01.011

Author Chipchase, Lucy S.
Schabrun, Siobhan M.
Hodges, Paul W.
Title Corticospinal excitability is dependent on the parameters of peripheral electrical stimulation: A preliminary study
Journal name Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0003-9993
Publication date 2011-01-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.apmr.2011.01.011
Volume 92
Issue 9
Start page 1423
End page 1430
Total pages 8
Place of publication Maryland Heights, MO, United States
Publisher W.B. Saunders
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
To evaluate the effect of 6 electric stimulation paradigms on corticospinal excitability.


Using a same subject pre-post test design, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to measure the responsiveness of corticomotor pathway to biceps and triceps brachii muscles before and after 30 minutes of electric stimulation over the biceps brachii. Six different electric stimulation paradigms were applied in random order, at least 3 days apart.


Motor control research laboratory.


Healthy subjects (N=10; 5 women, 5 men; mean age ± SD, 26±3.6y).


Six different electric stimulation paradigms with varied stimulus amplitude, frequency, and ramp settings.

Main Outcome Measure

Amplitudes of TMS-induced motor evoked potentials at biceps and triceps brachii normalized to maximal M-wave amplitudes.


Electric stimulation delivered at stimulus amplitude sufficient to evoke a sensory response at both 10Hz and 100Hz, and stimulus amplitude to create a noxious response at 10Hz decreased corticomotor responsiveness (all P<0.01). Stimulation sufficient to induce a motor contraction (30Hz) applied in a ramped pattern to mimic a voluntary activation increased corticomotor responsiveness (P=0.002), whereas constant low- and high-intensity motor stimulation at 10Hz did not. Corticomotor excitability changes were similar for both the stimulated muscle and its antagonist.

Stimulus amplitude (intensity) and the nature (muscle flicker vs contraction) of motor stimulation have a significant impact on changes in corticospinal excitability induced by electric stimulation. Here, we demonstrate that peripheral electric stimulation at stimulus amplitude to create a sensory response reduces corticomotor responsiveness. Conversely, stimulus amplitude to create a motor response increases corticomotor responsiveness, but only the parameters that create a motor response that mimics a voluntary muscle contraction.
Keyword Electric stimulation therapy
Physical therapy modalities
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Presented to the Australian Pain Society, March 30, 2010, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. Author's personal copy attached:"The attached copy is furnished to the author for internal non-commercial research and education use, including for instruction at the authors institution and sharing with colleagues. Other uses, including reproduction and distribution, or selling or licensing copies, or posting to personal, institutional or third party websites are prohibited."

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 21 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 25 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 13 Oct 2011, 12:54:55 EST by Dr Lucinda Chipchase on behalf of School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences