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Open Access Research article

Corticomuscular synchronization with small and large dynamic force output

Agnieszka Andrykiewicz1, Luis Patino1, Jose Raul Naranjo1, Matthias Witte1, Marie-Claude Hepp-Reymond2 and Rumyana Kristeva1*

Author Affiliations

1 Neurological Clinic, University Freiburg, Breisacherstraße 64, 79106 Freiburg, Germany

2 Institute of Neuroinformatics, University and ETH, Zürich, Germany

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BMC Neuroscience 2007, 8:101  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-8-101

Published: 27 November 2007

Abstract

Background

Over the last few years much research has been devoted to investigating the synchronization between cortical motor and muscular activity as measured by EEG/MEG-EMG coherence. The main focus so far has been on corticomuscular coherence (CMC) during static force condition, for which coherence in beta-range has been described. In contrast, we showed in a recent study [1] that dynamic force condition is accompanied by gamma-range CMC. The modulation of the CMC by various dynamic force amplitudes, however, remained uninvestigated. The present study addresses this question. We examined eight healthy human subjects. EEG and surface EMG were recorded simultaneously. The visuomotor task consisted in isometric compensation for 3 forces (static, small and large dynamic) generated by a manipulandum. The CMC, the cortical EEG spectral power (SP), the EMG SP and the errors in motor performance (as the difference between target and exerted force) were analyzed.

Results

For the static force condition we found the well-documented, significant beta-range CMC (15–30 Hz) over the contralateral sensorimotor cortex. Gamma-band CMC (30–45 Hz) occurred in both small and large dynamic force conditions without any significant difference between both conditions. Although in some subjects beta-range CMC was observed during both dynamic force conditions no significant difference between conditions could be detected. With respect to the motor performance, the lowest errors were obtained in the static force condition and the highest ones in the dynamic condition with large amplitude. However, when we normalized the magnitude of the errors to the amplitude of the applied force (relative errors) no significant difference between both dynamic conditions was observed.

Conclusion

These findings confirm that during dynamic force output the corticomuscular network oscillates at gamma frequencies. Moreover, we show that amplitude modulation of dynamic force has no effect on the gamma CMC in the low force range investigated. We suggest that gamma CMC is rather associated with the internal state of the sensorimotor system as supported by the unchanged relative error between both dynamic conditions.