Probing context-dependent modulations of ipsilateral premotor-motor connectivity in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

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Objective: We employed dual-site TMS to test whether ipsilateral functional premotor-motor connectivity is altered in relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RR-MS) and is related to central fatigue. 

Methods: Twelve patients with RR-MS and 12 healthy controls performed a visually cued Pinch-NoPinch task with their right hand. During the reaction time (RT) period of Pinch and No-Pinch trials, single-site TMS was applied to the left primary motor cortex (M1) or dual-site TMS was applied to the ipsilateral dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) and to M1. We traced context-dependent changes of corticospinal excitability and premotor-motor connectivity by measuring Motor-Evoked Potentials (MEPs) in the right first dorsal interosseus muscle. Central fatigue was evaluated with the Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Functions (FSMS). 

Results: In both groups, single-pulse TMS revealed a consistent increase in mean MEP amplitude during the Reaction Time (RT) period relative to a resting condition. Task-related corticospinal facilitation increased toward the end of the RT period in Pinch trials, while it decreased in No-Pinch trials. Again, this modulation of MEP facilitation by trial type was comparable in patients and controls. Dual-site TMS showed no significant effect of a conditioning PMd pulse on ipsilateral corticospinal excitability during the RT period in either group. However, patients showed a trend toward a relative attenuation in functional PMd-M1 connectivity at the end of the RT period in No-Pinch trials, which correlated positively with the severity of motor fatigue (r = 0.69; p = 0.007). 

Conclusions: Dynamic regulation of corticospinal excitability and ipsilateral PMd-M1 connectivity is preserved in patients with RR-MS. MS-related fatigue scales positively with an attenuation of premotor-to-motor functional connectivity during cued motor inhibition. Significance: The temporal, context-dependent modulation of ipsilateral premotor-motor connectivity, as revealed by dual-site TMS of ipsilateral PMd and M1, constitutes a promising neurophysiological marker of fatigue in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number193
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Ruiu, Dubbioso, Madsen, Svolgaard, Raffin, Andersen, Karabanov and Siebner.

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Multiple sclerosis, Dual-site TMS, Fatigue, Movement preparation, Dorsal premotor cortex, Primary motor cortex

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