Modulation of Motor Cortical Inhibition and Facilitation by Touch Sensation from the Glabrous Skin of the Human Hand. Academic Article uri icon


  • Touch sensation from the glabrous skin of the hand is essential for precisely controlling dexterous movements, yet the neural mechanisms by which tactile inputs influence motor circuits remain largely unexplored. By pairing air-puff tactile stimulation on the hand's glabrous skin with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the primary motor cortex (M1), we examined the effects of tactile stimuli from single or multiple fingers on corticospinal excitability and M1's intracortical circuits. Our results showed that when we targeted the hand's first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscle with TMS, homotopic (index finger) tactile stimulation, regardless of its point (fingertip or base), reduced corticospinal excitability. Conversely, heterotopic (ring finger) tactile stimulation had no such effect. Notably, stimulating all five fingers simultaneously led to a more pronounced decrease in corticospinal excitability than stimulating individual fingers. Furthermore, tactile stimulation significantly increased intracortical facilitation (ICF) and decreased long-interval intracortical inhibition (LICI) but did not affect short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI). Considering the significant role of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) in tactile processing, we also examined the effects of downregulating S1 excitability via continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) on tactile-motor interactions. Following cTBS, the inhibitory influence of tactile inputs on corticospinal excitability was diminished. Our findings highlight the spatial specificity of tactile inputs in influencing corticospinal excitability. Moreover, we suggest that tactile inputs distinctly modulate M1's excitatory and inhibitory pathways, with S1 being crucial in facilitating tactile-motor integration.

published proceedings

  • eNeuro

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Bao, S., Wang, Y., Escalante, Y. R., Li, Y., & Lei, Y.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Bao, Shancheng||Wang, Yiyu||Escalante, Yori R||Li, Yue||Lei, Yuming

publication date

  • March 2024

published in