ERD/ERS patterns reflecting sensorimotor activation and deactivation

Prog Brain Res. 2006;159:211-22. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(06)59014-4.


Oscillations in the alpha and beta band (<35 Hz) show characteristic spatiotemporal patterns during sensorimotor processing. Whereas event-related desynchronization (ERD) during motor preparation, execution, and imagery can be seen as a correlate of an activated cortical area, event-related synchronization (ERS) of frequency components between 10 and 13 Hz may represent a deactivated cortical area or inhibited cortical network, at least under certain conditions. Induced beta rhythms (13-35 Hz, beta ERS) can be found in sensorimotor areas following both voluntary movement and somatosensory stimulation. In a recent study we used different tasks involving execution and imagery of movements of the upper and lower limb to produce activation vs. deactivation/inhibition of the sensorimotor hand area. Sensorimotor interference, as a function of the activation level of the motor cortex, was studied by the use of repetitive median nerve stimulation (MNS) (ISI 1.5 s) in 12 healthy volunteers during the following task conditions: (i) cube manipulation between thumb and fingers of one hand, (ii) imagined cube manipulation, (iii) continuous foot rotation movements, and (iv) imagined foot movements. EEG was recorded from hand and foot representation areas and processed time-locked to MNS (ERD/ERS). In addition, task-related band power changes (TRPD/TRPI) were analyzed. We found a clear-cut suppression of the stimulation-induced beta ERS (indicating an enhanced activity state of the sensorimotor areas) during active cube manipulation and a weaker suppression during cube imagery. Mental imagination of foot movement led to an increase of the hand area mu rhythm, but did not interfere with stimulation-related effects on beta ERS. These findings support that interfering sensorimotor activation and deactivation is reflected in graduated changes of induced mu and beta oscillations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beta Rhythm
  • Cortical Synchronization*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Humans
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology