Neurotransmission is highly dependent on the availability of glucose-derived energy, although it is unclear how glucose availability modulates corticospinal and intracortical excitability as assessed via transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In this double-blinded placebo-controlled study, we tested the effect of acute glucose intake on motor-evoked potential (MEP) recruitment curves, short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI), short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI) and long-latency afferent inhibition (LAI). Eighteen healthy males participated in four sessions. Session 1 involved acquisition of an individualized blood glucose response curve. This allowed measurements to be time-locked to an individualized glucose peak after consuming one of three drinks during the subsequent three sessions. Participants were administered a 300 mL concealed solution containing 75 g of glucose, sucralose, or water in separate sessions. Dependent measures were assessed at baseline and twice after drinking the solution. Secondary measures included blood glucose and mean arterial pressure. Corticospinal excitability and blood pressure increased following the drink across all treatments. No changes were observed in SICI, SAI or LAI. There was no rise in corticospinal excitability that was specific to the glucose drink, suggesting that acute changes in glucose levels do not necessarily alter TMS measures of corticospinal or intracortical excitability.
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