The motor cortex: a network tuned to 7-14 Hz

Front Neural Circuits. 2013 Feb 21;7:21. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2013.00021. eCollection 2013.


The neocortex or six layer cortex consists of at least 52 cytoarchitectonically distinct areas in humans, and similar areas can be distinguished in rodents. Each of these areas has a defining set of extrinsic connections, identifiable functional roles, a distinct laminar arrangement, etc. Thus, neocortex is extensively subdivided into areas of anatomical and functional specialization, but less is known about the specialization of cellular and network physiology across areas. The motor cortex appears to have a distinct propensity to oscillate in the 7-14 Hz frequency range. Augmenting responses, normal mu and beta oscillations, and abnormal oscillations or after discharges caused by enhancing excitation or suppressing inhibition are all expressed around this frequency range. The substrate for this activity may be an excitatory network that is unique to the motor cortex or that is more strongly suppressed in other areas, such as somatosensory cortex. Interestingly, augmenting responses are dependent on behavioral state. They are abolished during behavioral arousal. Here, I briefly review this evidence.

Keywords: behavioral state; excitatory synapses; motor cortex; oscillatory activity; potassium channels; voltage-gated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Neocortex / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology