Granger causality analysis of functional connectivity of spiking neurons in orofacial motor cortex during chewing and swallowing

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:4587-90. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2012.6346988.


Primate feeding behavior is characterized by a series of jaw movement cycles of different types making it ideal for investigating the role of motor cortex in controlling transitions between different kinematic states. We recorded spiking activity in populations of neurons in the orofacial portion of primary motor cortex (MIo) of a macaque monkey and, using a Granger causality model, estimated their functional connectivity during transitions between chewing cycles and from chewing to swallowing cycles. We found that during rhythmic chewing, the network was dominated by excitatory connections and exhibited a few "out degree" hub neurons, while during transitions from rhythmic chews to swallows, the numbers of excitatory and inhibitory connections became comparable, and more "in degree" hub neurons emerged. These results suggest that networks of neurons in MIo change their operative states with changes in kinematically defined behavioral states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Macaca
  • Mastication / physiology*
  • Masticatory Muscles / physiology
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*