Activity patterns of human somatosensory cortex adapt dynamically to stimulus properties

Neuroreport. 2000 Sep 11;11(13):2977-80. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200009110-00030.


Long-term synchronous tactile stimulation of two sites of the body results in integrated, overlapping cortical representations whereas asynchronous stimulation leads to segregated representations. To investigate the cortical capacity to adapt dynamically to stimulation properties 22 subjects were stimulated at digits 1, 3 and 5 of both hands in either random or fixed order. Changes in the functional organization of the somatosensory cortex were inferred by neuromagnetic source analysis based on somatosensory evoked magnetic fields. Compared to the stimulation in random sequence, the stimulation in fixed order revealed a reduction in distance between the cortical representation of D1 and D3. We conclude that the pattern of activation in the somatosensory cortex adapts dynamically to the spatio-temporal characteristics of the stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fingers / innervation
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / cytology
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Physical Stimulation*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Touch / physiology*