Intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS) is a form of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation that may alter cortical excitability in the primary somatosensory cortex (SI). The present study investigated the effects of iTBS on subcortical and early cortical somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) recorded over left, iTBS stimulated SI and the right-hemisphere non-stimulated SI. SEPs were recorded before and at 5, 15, and 25 minutes following iTBS.
Compared to pre-iTBS, the amplitude of cortical potential N20/P25 was significantly increased for 5 minutes from non-stimulated SI and for 15 to 25 minutes from stimulated SI. Subcortical potentials recorded bilaterally remained unaltered following iTBS.
We conclude that iTBS increases the cortical excitability of SI bilaterally and does not alter thalamocortical afferent input to SI. ITBS may provide one avenue to induce cortical plasticity in the somatosensory cortex.