[en] Between attacks, migraine patients are characterized by potentiation instead of habituation of stimulation-evoked cortical responses. It is debated whether this is due to increased or decreased cortical excitability. We have studied the changes in visual cortex excitability by recording pattern-reversal visual evoked potentials (PR-VEP) after low- and high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), known respectively for their inhibitory and excitatory effect on the cortex. In 30 patients (20 migraine without, 10 with aura) and 24 healthy volunteers, rTMS of the occipital cortex was performed with a focal figure-of-eight magnetic coil (Magstim). Nine hundred pulses were delivered randomly at 1 or 10 Hz in two separate sessions. Stimulus intensity was set to the phosphene threshold or to 110% of the motor threshold if no phosphenes were elicited. Before and after rTMS, PR-VEP were averaged sequentially in six blocks of 100zztieresponses during uninterrupted 3.1 Hz stimulation. In healthy volunteers, PR-VEP amplitude was significantly decreased in the first block after 1 Hz rTMS and the habituation normally found in successive blocks after sustained stimulation was significantly attenuated. In migraine patients, 10 Hz rTMS was followed by a significant increase of first block PR-VEP amplitude and by a reversal to normal habituation of the potentiation (or dishabituation) characteristic of the disorder. This effect was similar in both forms of migraine and lasted for at least 9 min. There were no significant changes of PR-VEP amplitudes after 1 Hz rTMS in migraineurs and after 10 Hz rTMS in healthy volunteers, nor after sham stimulation. The recovery of a normal PR-VEP habituation pattern after high-frequency rTMS is probably due to activation of the visual cortex and the dishabituation in healthy volunteers to cortical inhibition. We conclude, therefore, that the deficient interictal PR-VEP habituation in migraine is due to a reduced, and not to an increased, pre-activation excitability level of the visual cortex.