Multipulse transcranial electrical stimulation (TES): normative data for motor evoked potentials in healthy horses

Sanne Lotte Journée, Henricus Louis Journée, Cornelis Marinus de Bruijn, Cathérine John Ghislaine Delesalle

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    BACKGROUND: There are indications that transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) assesses the motor function of the spinal cord in horses in a more sensitive and reproducible fashion than transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). However, no normative data of TES evoked motor potentials (MEP) is available.

    RESULTS: In this prospective study normative data of TES induced MEP wave characteristics (motor latency times (MLT); amplitude and waveform) was obtained from the extensor carpi radialis (ECR) and tibial cranialis (TC) muscles in a group of healthy horses to create a reference frame for functional diagnostic purposes. For the 12 horses involved in the study 95% confidence intervals for MLTs were 16.1-22.6 ms and 31.9-41.1 ms for ECR and TC muscles respectively. Intra-individual coefficients of variation (CV) and mean of MLTs were: ECR: 2.2-8,2% and 4.5% and TC: 1.4-6.3% and 3.5% respectively. Inter-individual CVs for MLTs were higher, though below 10% on all occasions. The mean ± sd of MEP amplitudes was respectively 3.61 ± 2.55 mV (ECR muscle left) and 4.53 ± 3.1 mV (right) and 2.66 ± 2.22 mV (TC muscle left) and 2.55 ± 1.85 mV (right). MLTs showed no significant left versus right differences. All MLTs showed significant (p < 0.05) voltage dependent decreases with slope coefficients of linear regression for ECR: - 0.049; - 0.061 ms/V and TC: - 0.082; - 0.089 ms/V (left; right). There was a positive correlation found between height at withers and MLTs in all 4 muscle groups. Finally, reliable assessment of MEP characteristics was for all muscle groups restricted to a transcranial time window of approximately 15-19 ms.

    CONCLUSIONS: TES is a novel and sensitive technique to assess spinal motor function in horses. It is easy applicable and highly reproducible. This study provides normative data in healthy horses on TES induced MEPs in the extensor carpi radialis and tibialis cranialis muscles bilaterally. No significant differences between MLTs of the left and right side could be demonstrated. A significant effect of stimulation voltage on MLTs was found. No significant effect of height at the withers could be found based upon the results of the current study. A study in which both TMS and TES are applied on the same group of horses is needed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number121
    JournalBMC Veterinary Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018


    • Transcranial electric stimulation
    • TES
    • TMS
    • MEP
    • Neurology
    • Horses
    • Spinal cord function


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