Somatosensory input to non-primary motor areas is enhanced during preparation of cued contraterlateral finger sequence movements Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Frontal N30 somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) represent early somatosensory input into non-primary motor areas. Importantly, modulations of frontal N30 SEPs can provide insight into the mechanisms involved in sensory processing for movement control. Enhancements of frontal N30 SEPs have been revealed during repetitive but not during the preparation of movements that are contralateral to median nerve (MN) stimulation (i.e. contralateral movements). Importantly, these enhancements during contralateral movements may be dependent on increased activity in several neural areas such as the primary motor cortex (M1), supplementary motor area (SMA) and basal ganglia (BG). Furthermore, research has also shown that patients with prefrontal lesions have enhanced early frontal SEPs (i.e. N28) at rest supporting a role of the prefrontal cortex in inhibitory modulation of early somatosensory input. The current study evaluated whether differential modulations of frontal N30 SEPs occurred during different time periods when individuals prepared and executed contralateral (right) finger sequences to attended vibrotactile (VibT) stimuli at the left index finger. SEPs were measured to median nerve (MN) stimuli elicited at the left wrist and MN stimuli were time-locked in four different periods relative to VibT onset (during pre-stimulus, early response preparation, late movement preparation and movement execution). Results revealed that frontal N30 SEPs were significantly enhanced when MN stimulation occurred in the late preparatory and/or early movement execution period (∼750 ms) after the attended VibT stimuli. This result supports that increases in frontal N30 amplitudes during contralateral movements are dependent on the complexity of preparing and executing finger sequences, which is associated with increased activity in several neural areas such as the non-primary motor areas, prefrontal cortex and BG. Furthermore, enhanced N30 SEPs during contralateral movement preparation and execution may be a necessary mechanism to decrease sensory gating to facilitate somatosensory processing in non-primary motor areas when there is a 'noisy' environment.

publication date

  • June 2015