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Time-dependent effect of acute hypoxia on corticospinal excitability in healthy humans.

Abstract : Contradictory results regarding the effect of hypoxia on cortex excitability have been reported in healthy subjects, possibly depending on hypoxia exposure duration. We evaluated the effects of 1- and 3-h hypoxia on motor corticospinal excitability, intracortical inhibition, and cortical voluntary activation (VA) using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS to the quadriceps cortex area and femoral nerve electrical stimulations were performed in 14 healthy subjects. Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs at 50-100% maximal voluntary contraction; MVC), recruitment curves (MEPs at 30-100% maximal stimulator power output at 50% MVC), cortical silent periods (CSP), and VA were measured in normoxia and after 1 (n = 12) or 3 (n = 10) h of hypoxia (Fi(O(2)) = 0.12). One-hour hypoxia did not modify any parameters of corticospinal excitability but reduced slightly VA, probably due to the repetition of contractions 1 h apart (96 ± 4% vs. 94 ± 4%; P = 0.03). Conversely, 3-h hypoxia significantly increased 1) MEPs of the quadriceps muscles at all force levels (+26 ± 14%, +24 ± 12%, and +27 ± 17% at 50, 75, and 100% MVC, respectively; P = 0.01) and stimulator power outputs (e.g., +21 ± 14% at 70% maximal power), and 2) CSP at all force levels (+20 ± 18%, +18 ± 19%, and +14 ± 22% at 50, 75, and 100% MVC, respectively; P = 0.02) and stimulator power outputs (e.g., +9 ± 8% at 70% maximal power), but did not modify VA (98 ± 1% vs. 97 ± 3%; P = 0.42). These data demonstrate a time-dependent hypoxia-induced increase in motor corticospinal excitability and intracortical inhibition, without changes in VA. The impact of these cortical changes on physical or psychomotor performances needs to be elucidated to better understand the cerebral effects of hypoxemia.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 12, 2012 - 5:35:16 PM
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Thomas Rupp, Marc Jubeau, Bernard Wuyam, Stéphane Perrey, Patrick Levy, et al.. Time-dependent effect of acute hypoxia on corticospinal excitability in healthy humans.. Journal of Neurophysiology, American Physiological Society, 2012, 108 (5), pp.1270-7. ⟨10.1152/jn.01162.2011⟩. ⟨inserm-00741477⟩

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