Enhanced corticomotor excitability with dynamic fatiguing exercise of the lower limb in multiple sclerosis
Thickbroom, G.W., Sacco, P., Faulkner, D.L., Kermode, A.G. and Mastaglia, F.L. (2008) Enhanced corticomotor excitability with dynamic fatiguing exercise of the lower limb in multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neurology, 255 (7). pp. 1001-1005.
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To determine if task performance and fatigability during rapid repetitive exercise of the lower limb differ in a group of MS subjects compared to a control group, and what central changes accompany the development of fatigue and the period of recovery.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to compare motor evoked potential (MEP) responses between 10 clinically definite MS subjects (7F, 33– 64 years of age; EDSS ≤ 4; MRC grade ≥ 4/5) and 13 control subjects during and after 5 bouts of a 15-second maximum rate foot-tapping task performed at 1 minute intervals.
Maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) force of ankle dorsiflexion was lower (15 %) in the MS group compared to controls; however there were no differences in the rate of foot tapping. The rate of foot tapping decreased during each bout of exercise to a comparable degree in both groups, but there was no overall deterioration in performance across the 5 repeat bouts in either group. MS subjects showed a greater decline in strength than controls after exercise (20.7 ± 7.7 % vs. 6 ± 3.6 %; p < 0.05). MEP amplitude increased significantly for the exercised limb in both groups, but the increase was greater in MS subjects (65.9 ± 27 % vs. 31 ± 19.6 %; MS vs. control; p < 0.05). MEP amplitude also increased for the non-exercised limb in controls (40.6 ± 15.6 %, p < 0.01) but not in MS subjects.
Mild to moderately affected MS subjects can perform a fatiguing exercise requiring a high level of central motor control but this is associated with a greater strength loss and increase in corticomotor excitability compared to unaffected individuals.
Central adaptive processes are likely to have a significant role in maintaining task performance in MS.
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