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BACKGROUND: Intermittent theta-burst stimulation (i) (TBS) is a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) plasticity protocol. Conventionally, TBS is applied using biphasic pulses due to hardware limitations. However, monophasic pulses are hypothesised to recruit cortical neurons more selectively than biphasic pulses, predicting stronger plasticity effects. Monophasic and biphasic TBS can be generated using a custom-made pulse-width modulation-based TMS device (pTMS). OBJECTIVE: Using pTMS, we tested the hypothesis that monophasic iTBS would induce a stronger plasticity effect than biphasic, measured as induced increases in motor corticospinal excitability. METHODS: In a repeated-measures design, thirty healthy volunteers participated in three separate sessions, where monophasic and biphasic iTBS was applied to the primary motor cortex (M1 condition) or the vertex (control condition). Plasticity was quantified as increases in motor corticospinal excitability after versus before iTBS, by comparing peak-to-peak amplitudes of motor evoked potentials (MEP) measured at baseline and over 60 min after iTBS. RESULTS: Both monophasic and biphasic M1 iTBS led to significant increases in MEP amplitude. As predicted, linear mixed effects (LME) models showed that the iTBS condition had a significant effect on the MEP amplitude (χ2 (1) = 27.615, p 

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Stimul

Publication Date





1178 - 1185


Motor plasticity, Pulse-width modulation based TMS, TMS pulse shape, Theta burst stimulation (TBS), Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)