Intermittent theta burst stimulation to the primary motor cortex reduces cortical inhibition: A TMS-EEG study

Zhongfei Bai, Jiaqi Zhang, Kenneth N.K. Fong (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The aim of this study was to reveal the effects of intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) in modulating cortical networks using transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography (TMS-EEG) recording. Methods: Eighteen young adults participated in our study and received iTBS to the primary motor cortex (M1), supplementary motor area, and the primary visual cortex in three separate sessions. A finger tapping task and ipsilateral single-pulse TMS-EEG recording for the M1 were administrated before and after iTBS in each session. The effects of iTBS in motor performance and TMS-evoked potentials (TEPs) were investigated. Results: The results showed that iTBS to the M1, but not supplementary motor area or the primary visual cortex, significantly reduced the N100 amplitude of M1 TEPs in bilateral hemispheres (p = 0.019), with a more prominent effect in the contralateral hemisphere than in the stimulated hemisphere. Moreover, only iTBS to the M1 decreased global mean field power (corrected ps < 0.05), interhemispheric signal propagation (t = 2.53, p = 0.030), and TMS-induced early α-band synchronization (p = 0.020). Conclusion: Our study confirmed the local and remote after-effects of iTBS in reducing cortical inhibition in the M1. TMS-induced oscillations after iTBS for changed cortical excitability in patients with various neurological and psychiatric conditions are worth further exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1114
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2021


  • Cortical inhibition
  • Primary motor cortex
  • TMS-evoked potentials
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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