Increased intracortical inhibition in elderly adults with anterior-posterior current flow: a TMS study

Sale, Martin V., Lavender, Andrew P., Opie, George M., Nordstrom, Michael A. and Semmler, John G. (2015) Increased intracortical inhibition in elderly adults with anterior-posterior current flow: a TMS study. Clinical Neurophysiology, 127 1: 635-640. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2015.04.062

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Author Sale, Martin V.
Lavender, Andrew P.
Opie, George M.
Nordstrom, Michael A.
Semmler, John G.
Title Increased intracortical inhibition in elderly adults with anterior-posterior current flow: a TMS study
Journal name Clinical Neurophysiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1872-8952
Publication date 2015-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.clinph.2015.04.062
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 127
Issue 1
Start page 635
End page 640
Total pages 6
Place of publication Shannon, Clare Ireland
Publisher Elsevier Ireland
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract

All previous studies using TMS to assess short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) in older adults have used a conventional coil orientation, which produces posterior-to-anterior (PA) current flow in the motor cortex. However, no studies have examined SICI in older adults by reversing the coil to induce anterior-to-posterior (AP) current flow, which is considered more sensitive at detecting SICI. Therefore, we investigated age-related changes in SICI using both PA and AP TMS across different conditioning stimulus intensities and muscle activation states.


In 22 young and 20 older adults, SICI was assessed using PA and AP coil orientations, across a range of conditioning stimulus intensities (70–90% active motor threshold), and whilst participants kept their first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscle either relaxed or active (2 N force).


There were no age-related differences in SICI using conventional PA TMS in resting or active FDI muscle. However, SICI was increased in elderly participants when assessed with reverse coil AP TMS in resting FDI.


Coil orientation is a key factor to consider when assessing age-related differences in SICI.


Reverse coil AP TMS can reveal age-related changes in SICI, which were previously not evident with conventional PA TMS. This may have implications for the assessment of SICI in some clinical populations that may show subtle differences in SICI circuitry.
Keyword Ageing
Intracortical inhibition
Motor cortex
Movement control
Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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