As recently demonstrated, a placebo procedure in motor performance increases force production and changes the excitability of the corticospinal system, by enhancing the amplitude of the motor evoked potentials (MEP) and reducing the duration of the cortical silent period (CSP). However, it is not clear whether these neurophysiological changes are related to the behavioural outcome (increased force) or to a general effect of expectation. To clarify this, we investigated the nocebo effect, in which the induced expectation decreases force production. Two groups of healthy volunteers (experimental and control) performed a motor task by pressing a piston with the right index finger. To induce a nocebo effect in the experimental group, low frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) was applied over the index finger with instructions of its detrimental effects on force. To condition the subjects, the visual feedback on their force level was surreptitiously reduced after TENS. Results showed that the experimental group reduced the force, felt weaker and expected a worse performance than the control group, who was not suggested about TENS. By applying transcranial magnetic stimulation over the primary motor cortex, we found that while MEP amplitude remained stable throughout the procedure in both groups, the CSP duration was shorter in the experimental group after the nocebo procedure. The CSP reduction resembled previous findings on the placebo effect, suggesting that expectation of change in performance diminishes the inhibitory activation of the primary motor cortex, independently of the behavioural outcome.

Modulation of inhibitory corticospinal circuits induced by a nocebo procedure in motor performance.

EMADI ANDANI, Mehran;TINAZZI, Michele;CORSI, Nicole;FIORIO, Mirta
2015

Abstract

As recently demonstrated, a placebo procedure in motor performance increases force production and changes the excitability of the corticospinal system, by enhancing the amplitude of the motor evoked potentials (MEP) and reducing the duration of the cortical silent period (CSP). However, it is not clear whether these neurophysiological changes are related to the behavioural outcome (increased force) or to a general effect of expectation. To clarify this, we investigated the nocebo effect, in which the induced expectation decreases force production. Two groups of healthy volunteers (experimental and control) performed a motor task by pressing a piston with the right index finger. To induce a nocebo effect in the experimental group, low frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) was applied over the index finger with instructions of its detrimental effects on force. To condition the subjects, the visual feedback on their force level was surreptitiously reduced after TENS. Results showed that the experimental group reduced the force, felt weaker and expected a worse performance than the control group, who was not suggested about TENS. By applying transcranial magnetic stimulation over the primary motor cortex, we found that while MEP amplitude remained stable throughout the procedure in both groups, the CSP duration was shorter in the experimental group after the nocebo procedure. The CSP reduction resembled previous findings on the placebo effect, suggesting that expectation of change in performance diminishes the inhibitory activation of the primary motor cortex, independently of the behavioural outcome.
motor performance; nocebo effect; Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation; motor evoked potentials; cortical silent period; behavioural outcome
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/916788
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