Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Variability in neural excitability and plasticity induction in the human cortex: A brain stimulation study

Hordacre, B., Goldsworthy, M.R., Vallence, A.-M.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-6366, Darvishi, S., Moezzi, B., Hamada, M., Rothwell, J.C. and Ridding, M.C. (2017) Variability in neural excitability and plasticity induction in the human cortex: A brain stimulation study. Brain Stimulation, 10 (3). pp. 588-595.

PDF - Authors' Version
Download (2MB) | Preview
Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Background: The potential of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) for both probing human neuroplasticity and the induction of functionally relevant neuroplastic change has received significant interest. However, at present the utility of NIBS is limited due to high response variability. One reason for this response variability is that NIBS targets a diffuse cortical population and the net outcome to stimulation depends on the relative levels of excitability in each population. There is evidence that the relative excitability of complex oligosynaptic circuits (late I-wave circuits) as assessed by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is useful in predicting NIBS response.

Objective: Here we examined whether an additional marker of cortical excitability, MEP amplitude variability, could provide additional insights into response variability following application of the continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) NIBS protocol. Additionally we investigated whether I-wave recruitment was associated with MEP variability. Methods: Thirty-four healthy subjects (15 male, aged 18-35 years) participated in two experiments. Experiment 1 investigated baseline MEP variability and cTBS response. Experiment 2 determined if I-wave recruitment was associated with MEP variability. Results: Data show that both baseline MEP variability and late I-wave recruitment are associated with cTBS response, but were independent of each other; together, these variables predict 31% of the variability in cTBS response.

Conclusions: This study provides insight into the physiological mechanisms underpinning NIBS plasticity responses and may facilitate development of more reliable NIBS protocols.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2016 Elsevier Inc.
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year