Age-related changes of cortical excitability and connectivity in healthy humans: non-invasive evaluation of sensorimotor network by means of TMS-EEG
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CitationFerreri Florinda. Guerra Andrea. Vollero Luca. Ponzo David. Määttä Sara. Mervaala Esa. Iannello Giulio. Di Lazzaro Vincenzo. (2017). Age-related changes of cortical excitability and connectivity in healthy humans: non-invasive evaluation of sensorimotor network by means of TMS-EEG. NEUROSCIENCE, 357, 255-263. 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.06.014.
The sensorimotor cortical system undergoes structural and functional changes across its lifespan. Some of these changes are physiological and parallel the normal aging process, while others might represent pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders. In the last years, the study of possible age-related modifications in brain sensorimotor functional characteristics has been the focus of several research projects. Here we have used the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)-electroencephalography (EEG) navigated co-registration to investigate the influence of physiological aging on the excitability and connectivity of the human sensorimotor cortical system. To this end, we compared the TMS-evoked EEG potentials (TEPs) collected after stimulating the dominant primary motor cortex (M1) in healthy young subjects (mean age 24.5 years) with those collected in healthy older adults (mean age 67.6 years). We have shown that, after stimulation of the left motor cortex, TEPs are significantly affected by physiological aging. This phenomenon has a clear spatio-temporal specificity and we speculate that normal aging per se leads to some changes in the excitability of specific cortical neural assemblies whereas other alterations could reflect compensatory mechanisms to such changes.