Objective: To compare the individual latency distributions of motor evoked potentials (MEP) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) to the previously reported results in healthy subjects (Firmin et al., 2011).
Methods: We applied the previously reported method to measure the distribution of MEP latencies to 16 patients with MS. The method is based on transcranial magnetic stimulation and consists of a combination of the triple stimulation technique with a method originally developed to measure conduction velocity distributions in peripheral nerves.
Results: MEP latency distributions in MS typically showed two peaks. The individual MEP latency distributions were significantly wider in patients with MS than in healthy subjects. The mean triple stimulation delay extension at the 75% quantile, a proxy for MEP latency distribution width, was 7.3. ms in healthy subjects and 10.7. ms in patients with MS.
Conclusions: In patients with MS, slow portions of the central motor pathway contribute more to the MEP than in healthy subjects. The bimodal distribution found in healthy subjects is preserved in MS.
Significance: Our method to measure the distribution of MEP latencies is suitable to detect alterations in the relative contribution of corticospinal tract portions with long MEP latencies to motor conduction.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation
- Multiple sclerosis
- Motor evoked potentials
- Triple stimulation technique
- Central conduction time