MEG Insight into the Spectral Dynamics Underlying Steady Isometric Muscle Contraction
Date of Issue2017
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
Cognitive Neuroimaging Centre
To gain fundamental knowledge on how the brain controls motor actions, we studied in detail the interplay between MEG signals from the primary sensorimotor (SM1) cortex and the contraction force of 17 healthy adult humans (7 females, 10 males). SM1 activity was coherent at ∼20 Hz with surface electromyogram (as already extensively reported) but also with contraction force. In both cases, the effective coupling was dominant in the efferent direction. Across subjects, the level of ∼20 Hz coherence between cortex and periphery positively correlated with the “burstiness” of ∼20 Hz SM1 (Pearson r ≈ 0.65) and peripheral fluctuations (r ≈ 0.9). Thus, ∼20 Hz coherence between cortex and periphery is tightly linked to the presence of ∼20 Hz bursts in SM1 and peripheral activity. However, the very high correlation with peripheral fluctuations suggests that the periphery is the limiting factor. At frequencies <3 Hz, both SM1 signals and ∼20 Hz SM1 envelope were coherent with both force and its absolute change rate. The effective coupling dominated in the efferent direction between (1) force and the ∼20 Hz SM1 envelope and (2) the absolute change rate of the force and SM1 signals. Together, our data favor the view that ∼20 Hz coherence between cortex and periphery during isometric contraction builds on the presence of ∼20 Hz SM1 oscillations and needs not rely on feedback from the periphery. They also suggest that effective cortical proprioceptive processing operates at <3 Hz frequencies, even during steady isometric contractions.
The Journal of Neuroscience
© 2017 Society for Neuroscience. This paper was published in The Journal of Neuroscience and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of Society for Neuroscience. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0447-17.2017]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.