Motor evoked potentials and central motor conduction: studies of transcranial magnetic stimulation with recording from the leg

K. R. Booth, L. J. Streletz, J. J. Raab, J. J. Kerrigan, M. A. Alaimo, G. J. Herbison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


To determine central conduction times in the corticospinal pathways of humans using magnetic stimulation, we have developed a method for consistently recording conduction times between the motor cortex and the L4-5 level of the spinal cord. In 30 subjects, motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded from the tibialis anterior muscle following contralateral motor cortex and peroneal nerve stimulation. In 18 of these subjects, the L4-5 intervertebral space was stimulated. The stimuli consisted of single, painless, short-duration magnetic pulses. In 12 subjects, measurements were made during voluntary ankle dorsiflexion, and during vibration of the TA tendon at rest. All subjects had measurable MEP latencies of 30.3 ± 2.2 (mean ± S.D.). The central motor conduction time (CMCT) was calculated using both a direct as well as an indirect method. The direct method in 18 subjects had a mean value of 16.2 ± 1.7 msec, while the indirect method in all 30 subjects was 13.8 ± 1.8 msec. No significant correlation of the CMCT was found with either age or height in these subjects. Ankle dorsiflexion significantly reduced the MEP latency and increased the amplitude, whereas vibration of the TA tendon significantly increased the amplitude alone. We conclude that MEPs may be consistently and painlessly measured in the lower extremity using magnetic stimulation in adults. Facilitation of the MEPs was produced more consistently by voluntary contraction than by vibratory stimulation of the tibialis anterior muscle tendon. Finally, CMCT was independent of both age and height in our study population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology/ Evoked Potentials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1991


  • Central motor conduction time
  • F-waves
  • Facilitation
  • Magnetic coil
  • Magnetic stimulation
  • Motor evoked potentials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology

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