Task-dependent modulations of cortical oscillatory activity in human subjects during a bimanual precision grip task

Neuroimage. 2003 Jan;18(1):67-73. doi: 10.1006/nimg.2002.1322.


Oscillations are a widespread feature of normal brain activity and have been reported at a variety of different frequencies in different neuronal systems. The demonstration that oscillatory activity is present in motor command signals has prompted renewed interest in the possible functions of synchronous oscillatory activity within the primate sensorimotor system. In the current study, we investigated task-dependent modulations in coupling between sensorimotor cortical oscillators during a bimanual precision grip task. The task required a hold-ramp-hold pattern of grip force to be exerted on a compliant object with the dominant right hand, while maintaining a steady grip with the nondominant hand. We found significant task-related modulation of 15- to 30-Hz coherence between magnetoencephalographic (MEG) activity recorded from the left sensorimotor cortex and electromyographic (EMG) activity in hand muscles on the right side. This coherence was maximal during steady hold, but disappeared during the ramp movements. Interestingly coherence between the right sensorimotor MEG and left-hand EMG showed a similar, although less deeply modulated, task-related pattern, even though this hand was maintaining a simple steady grip. No significant ipsilateral MEG-EMG coherence was observed in the 15- to 30-Hz passband for either hand. These results suggest that the cortical oscillators in the two sensorimotor cortices are independent to some degree but that they may share a common mechanism that attenuates the cortical power in both hemispheres in the 15- to 30-Hz range during movements of one hand. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that oscillatory activity in the motor system is important in resetting the descending motor commands needed for changes in motor state, such as those that occur in the transition from movement to steady grip.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Electromyography*
  • Female
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*