Activation of human spinal locomotor circuitry using transvertebral magnetic stimulation

Kazutake Kawai, Toshiki Tazoe, Toshimasa Yanai, Kazuyuki Kanosue, Yukio Nishimura*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Transvertebral magnetic stimulation (TVMS) of the human lumbar spinal cord can evoke bilateral rhythmic leg movements, as in walking, supposedly through the activation of spinal locomotor neural circuitry. However, an appropriate stimulus intensity that can effectively drive the human spinal locomotor circuitry to evoke walking-like movements has not been determined. To address this issue, TVMS was delivered over an intervertebral space of the lumbar cord (L1–L3) at different stimulus intensities (10–70% of maximum stimulator output) in healthy human adults. In a stimulus intensity-dependent manner, TVMS evoked two major patterns of rhythmic leg movements in which the left-right movement cycles were coordinated with different phase relationships: hopping-like movements, in which both legs moved in the same direction in phase, and walking-like movements, in which both legs moved alternatively in anti-phase; uncategorized movements were also observed which could not be categorized as either movement type. Even at the same stimulation site, the stimulus-evoked rhythmic movements changed from hopping-like movements to walking-like movements as stimulus intensity was increased. Different leg muscle activation patterns were engaged in the induction of the hopping- and walking-like movements. The magnitude of the evoked hopping- and walking-like movements was positively correlated with stimulus intensity. The human spinal neural circuitry required a higher intensity of magnetic stimulation to produce walking-like leg movements than to produce hopping-like movements. These results suggest that TVMS activates distinct neural modules in the human spinal cord to generate hopping- and walking-like movements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1016064
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Sept 23


  • central pattern generator
  • human
  • locomotion
  • magnetic stimulation
  • spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Activation of human spinal locomotor circuitry using transvertebral magnetic stimulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this