Temporal dynamics of primary motor cortex γ oscillation amplitude and piper corticomuscular coherence changes during motor control

Exp Brain Res. 2011 Aug;212(4):623-33. doi: 10.1007/s00221-011-2775-z. Epub 2011 Jun 24.


In recent years, the use of non-invasive techniques (EEG/MEG) to measure the ~80 Hz ("gamma") oscillations generated by the primary motor cortex during motor control has been well validated. However, primary motor cortex gamma oscillations have yet to be systematically compared with lower frequency (30-50 Hz, 'piper') corticomuscular coherence in the same tasks. In this paper, primary cortex gamma oscillations and piper corticomuscular coherence are compared for three types of movements: simple abductions of the index finger, repetitive abductions of the index finger of different extents and frequencies and static abduction of the index finger at two different force levels. For simple movements, piper coherence and gamma amplitude followed very similar time courses with coherence appearing at approximately half the frequency of cortical gamma oscillations. No evidence of 2:1 phase-phase coupling was observed. A similar pattern of results was observed for repetitive movements varying in size and frequency; however, during the production of static force, the time courses became dissociated. During these movements, EMG piper amplitude was sustained for the entire contraction; gamma power showed a burst at onset but no piper corticomuscular coherence was observed. For these data, this dissociation suggests that while primary motor cortex gamma oscillations and piper corticomuscular coherence may often co-occur during the production of dynamic movements, they probably reflect different functional processes in motor control.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Time Factors