Daily activities often require sudden cancellation of pre-planned movement, termed response inhibition. When only a subcomponent of a whole response must be suppressed (required herein on Partial trials), the ensuing component is markedly delayed. The neural mechanisms underlying partial response inhibition remain unclear. We hypothesized that Partial trials would be associated with non-selective corticomotor suppression and that GABAB-receptor mediated inhibition within primary motor cortex might be responsible for the non-selective corticomotor suppression contributing to Partial trial response delays. Sixteen right-handed participants performed a bimanual anticipatory response inhibition task while single and paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation was delivered to elicit motor evoked potentials in the left first dorsal interosseous muscle. Lift times, amplitude of motor evoked potentials and long-interval intracortical inhibition were examined across the different trial types (Go, Stop-Left, Stop-Right, Stop-Both). Go trials produced a tight distribution of lift times around the target, whereas those during Partial trials (Stop-Left and Stop-Right) were substantially delayed. The modulation of motor evoked potential amplitude during Stop-Right trials reflected anticipation, suppression and subsequent re-initiation of movement. Importantly, suppression was present across all Stop trial types, indicative of a "default" non-selective inhibitory process. Compared with blocks containing only Go trials, inhibition increased when Stop trials were introduced but did not differ between trial types. The amount of inhibition was positively correlated with lift times during Stop-Right trials. Tonic levels of inhibition appear to be proactively modulated by task context and influence the speed at which unimanual responses occur after a non-selective "brake" is applied.
- response inhibition
- transcranial magnetic stimulation
- motor cortex
- intracortical inhibition
- Copyright © 2016, Journal of Neurophysiology