Background Long-interval intracortical inhibition (LICI) is a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) paradigm that uses paired magnetic stimuli separated by 100–200 ms to investigate the activity of cortical GABAergic interneurons. While commonly applied, the mechanisms contributing to LICI are not well understood, and growing evidence suggests that inhibition observed at different interstimulus intervals (ISI) may involve non-identical processes. Objective This study aims to utilise combined TMS–EEG to more thoroughly characterise LICI at different ISIs, as the TMS-evoked EEG potential (TEP) can provide more direct insight into the cortical response to stimulation that is not subject to variations in spinal cord excitability that can confound the motor evoked potential (MEP). Methods In 12 subjects (22.6 ± 0.9 years), LICI was applied using two ISIs of 100 ms (LICI100) and 150 ms (LICI150), while TEPs were recorded using simultaneous high-definition EEG. Results Analysis of EEG data within a region of interest (C3 electrode) showed that test alone stimulation produced three consistent TEP peaks (corresponding to P30, N100 and P180) that were all significantly inhibited following paired-pulse stimulation. However, for P30, inhibition varied between LICI conditions, with reduced amplitude following LICI100 (P = 0.03) but not LICI150 (P = 0.3). In contrast, the N100 and P180 were significantly reduced by LICI at both intervals (all P-values < 0.05). In addition, topographical analyses suggested that the global change in P30, N40 and P180 differed between LICI conditions. Conclusions These findings suggest that LICI100 and LICI150 reflect complex measurements of cortical inhibition with differential contributions from comparable circuits.
- Interstimulus interval
- Long-interval intracortical inhibition
- TMS-evoked potential
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation