Development of cortical motor circuits between childhood and adulthood: A navigated TMS-HdEEG study


Motor functions improve during childhood and adolescence, but little is still known about the development of cortical motor circuits during early life. To elucidate the neurophysiological hallmarks of motor cortex development, we investigated the differences in motor cortical excitability and connectivity between healthy children, adolescents, and adults by means of navigated suprathreshold motor cortex transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) combined with high-density electroencephalography (EEG). We demonstrated that with development, the excitability of the motor system increases, the TMS-evoked EEG waveform increases in complexity, the magnitude of induced activation decreases, and signal spreading increases. Furthermore, the phase of the oscillatory response to TMS becomes less consistent with age. These changes parallel an improvement in manual dexterity and may reflect developmental changes in functional connectivity.

Human Brain Mapping