Modulation of Short-Latency Afferent Inhibition Depends on Digit and Task-Relevance
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Short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI) occurs when a single transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) pulse delivered over the primary motor cortex is preceded by peripheral electrical nerve stimulation at a short inter-stimulus interval (∼ 20-28 ms). SAI has been extensively examined at rest, but few studies have examined how this circuit functions in the context of performing a motor task and if this circuit may contribute to surround inhibition. The present study investigated SAI in a muscle involved versus uninvolved in a motor task and specifically during three pre-movement phases; two movement preparation phases between a "warning" and "go" cue and one movement initiation phase between a "go" cue and EMG onset. SAI was tested in the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) and abductor digiti minimi (ADM) muscles in twelve individuals. In a second experiment, the origin of SAI modulation was investigated by measuring H-reflex amplitudes from FDI and ADM during the motor task. The data indicate that changes in SAI occurred predominantly in the movement initiation phase during which SAI modulation depended on the specific digit involved. Specifically, the greatest reduction in SAI occurred when FDI was involved in the task. In contrast, these effects were not present in ADM. Changes in SAI were primarily mediated via supraspinal mechanisms during movement preparation, while both supraspinal and spinal mechanisms contributed to SAI reduction during movement initiation.
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