Interhemispheric Inhibition is Different During Arm Cycling Than a Position- and Intensity-Matched Tonic Contraction

SOURCE: Experimental Brain Research. 240(9):2425-2434, 2022 Sep.

AUTHORS: Compton CT; Lockyer EJ; Benson RJ; Power KE

ABSTRACT: Task-dependent changes in inhibition may explain why supraspinal excitability is higher during arm cycling than an intensity- and position-matched tonic contraction. The present study investigated whether interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) associated with biceps brachii activity was different during arm cycling, a locomotor output, compared to a tonic contraction. IHI was quantified using an ipsilateral silent period (iSP) evoked via transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the ipsilateral motor cortex. TMS was delivered at 120% resting motor threshold during the mid-elbow flexion phase of arm cycling (6 o’clock position, made relative to a clock face) and during a position- and intensity-matched tonic contraction. In total, 36 participants took part in the study. However, only 14 participants demonstrated IHI during arm cycling and 10 participants during tonic contraction. Of these participants, eight displayed clear iSPs during arm cycling and tonic contraction. The iSP duration was longer during arm cycling than tonic contraction (p < 0.05), while iSP EMG amplitude and area were not different between tasks (p > 05 for both comparisons). The main finding from this study is that IHI appears to be stronger during arm cycling than an intensity- and position-matched tonic contraction. This does not support previous findings of higher supraspinal excitability during arm cycling.