Objective: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the leg motor area elicits a soleus primary response (SPR) and a soleus late response (SLR). We evaluated the influence of the cerebellofugal pathway on the SPR and SLR in patients with 'pure' cerebellar ataxia. Methods: SPRs and SLRs were recorded from 11 healthy subjects and 9 patients with 'pure' cerebellar cortical degeneration; 5 with spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6), and 4 with late cortical cerebellar ataxia (LCCA). In addition, three patients with localized cerebellar lesions were tested. Results: The SPR latency was significantly longer in patients than in controls, but primary responses in the tibialis anterior muscle were normal. The frequency of abnormal SLR was 38.9% in the supine position and 83.3% in the standing position. Two out of three patients with localized cerebellar lesions also showed abnormal SLR. Conclusions: Altered SPRs in patients may result from a dysfunction of the primary motor cortex caused by crossed cerebello-cerebral diaschisis. In addition, our results suggest that 'pure' cerebellar degeneration involves the mechanism responsible for evoking SLR which is related to the control of posture. Significance: SLR can be a useful neurophysiological parameter for evaluating cerebellofugal function.
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