Corticospinal contributions to lower limb muscle activity during cycling in humans

Sidhu, Simranjit K., Hoffman, Ben W., Cresswell, Andrew G. and Carroll, Timothy J. (2012) Corticospinal contributions to lower limb muscle activity during cycling in humans. Journal of Neurophysiology, 107 1: 306-314. doi:10.1152/jn.00212.2011

Author Sidhu, Simranjit K.
Hoffman, Ben W.
Cresswell, Andrew G.
Carroll, Timothy J.
Title Corticospinal contributions to lower limb muscle activity during cycling in humans
Journal name Journal of Neurophysiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-3077
Publication date 2012-01-01
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1152/jn.00212.2011
Volume 107
Issue 1
Start page 306
End page 314
Total pages 9
Place of publication Bethesda, MD, United States
Publisher American Physiological Society
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The purpose of the current study was to investigate corticospinal contributions to locomotor drive to leg muscles involved in cycling. We studied 1) if activation of inhibitory interneurons in the cortex via subthreshold transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) caused a suppression of EMG and 2) how the responses to stimulation of the motor cortex via TMS and cervicomedullary stimulation (CMS) were modulated across the locomotor cycle. TMS at intensities subthreshold for activation of the corticospinal tract elicited suppression of EMG for approximately one-half of the subjects and muscles during cycling, and in matched static contractions in vastus lateralis. There was also significant modulation in the size of motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited by TMS across the locomotor cycle (P < 0.001) that was strongly related to variation in background EMG in all muscles (r > 0.86; P < 0.05). When MEP and CMEP amplitudes were normalized to background EMG, they were relatively larger prior to the main EMG burst and smaller when background EMG was maximum. Since the pattern of modulation of normalized MEP and CMEP responses was similar, the data suggest that phase-dependent modulation of corticospinal responses during cycling in humans is driven mainly by spinal mechanisms. However, there were subtle differences in the degree to which normalized MEP and CMEP responses were facilitated prior to EMG burst, which might reflect small increases in cortical excitability prior to maximum muscle activation. The data demonstrate that the motor cortex contributes actively to locomotor drive, and that spinal factors dominate phase-dependent modulation of corticospinal excitability during cycling in humans.
Keyword Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Knee extensors
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online before print October 19, 2011

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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