VIBRATION PROLONGS THE CORTICAL SILENT PERIOD IN AN ANTAGONISTIC MUSCLE

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Abstract

We tested whether the silent period, an indicator of inhibitory neuronal activity, is modulated by muscle vibration. Vibration was applied to the right extensor carpi radialis (ECR) muscle in 17 healthy subjects and, as a control experiment, to the dorsal terminal phalanges in 5 subjects. Data before vibration were compared with those during vibration. The cortical silent period (CSP) was evoked by transcranial magnetic stimuli (TMS) during voluntary wrist flexion or during voluntary wrist extension. TMS-evoked motor potentials (MEPs) of the flexor carpi radialis (FCR) muscle were recorded during muscle relaxation. The mixed nerve silent period (MNSP) was obtained by electrical stimulation of the median nerve during wrist flexion. ECR vibration induced a significant prolongation of the CSP in FCR. CSP increases induced by vibration of the dorsal terminal phalanges were significantly less pronounced. In ECR, the CSP tended to be shortened. MEPs and MNSP remained unchanged. We conclude that vibration enhances inhibitory neuronal properties in a non-vibrated antagonistic muscle, presumably at a supraspinal level. These results may be relevant for the treatment of spasticity of the upper extremity. Muscle Nerve, 2009

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