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Coordination of multiple joints increases bilateral connectivity with ipsilateral sensorimotor cortices

By Kevin B Wilkins, Jun Yao

Posted 31 May 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/656819 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116344)

Although most activities of daily life require simultaneous coordination of both proximal and distal joints, motor preparation during such movements has not been well studied. Previous results for motor preparation have focused on hand/finger movements. For simple hand/finger movements, results have found that such movements typically evoke activity primarily in the contralateral motor cortices. However, increasing the complexity of the finger movements, such as during a distal sequential finger-pressing task, leads to additional recruitment of ipsilateral resources. It has been suggested that this involvement of the ipsilateral hemisphere is critical for temporal coordination of distal joints. The goal of the current study was to examine whether increasing simultaneous coordination of multiple joints (both proximal and distal) leads to a similar increase in coupling with ipsilateral sensorimotor cortices during motor preparation compared to a simple distal movement such as hand opening. To test this possibility, 12 healthy individuals participated in a high-density EEG experiment in which they performed either hand opening or simultaneous hand opening while lifting at the shoulder on a robotic device. We quantified within- and cross-frequency cortical coupling across the sensorimotor cortex for the two tasks using dynamic causal modeling. Both hand opening and simultaneous hand opening while lifting at the shoulder elicited coupling from secondary motor areas to primary motor cortex within the contralateral hemisphere exclusively in the beta band, as well as from ipsilateral primary motor cortex. However increasing the task complexity by combining hand opening while lifting at the shoulder also led to an increase in coupling within the ipsilateral hemisphere as well as interhemispheric coupling between hemispheres that expanded to theta, mu, and gamma frequencies. These findings demonstrate that increasing the demand of joint coordination between proximal and distal joints leads to increases in communication with the ipsilateral hemisphere as previously observed in distal sequential finger tasks.

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