MEG studies of motor cortex gamma oscillations: evidence for a gamma "fingerprint" in the brain?

Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 Sep 17;7:575. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00575. eCollection 2013.


The human motor cortex exhibits transient bursts of high frequency gamma oscillations in the 60-90 Hz range during movement. It has been proposed that gamma oscillations generally reflect local intracortical activity. However, movement-evoked gamma is observed simultaneously in both cortical and subcortical (basal ganglia) structures and thus appears to reflect long-range cortical-subcortical interactions. Recent evidence suggests that gamma oscillations do not simply reflect sensory reafference, but have a facilitative role in movement initiation. Here we summarize contributions of MEG to our understanding of movement-evoked gamma oscillations, including evidence that transient gamma bursts during the performance of specific movements constitutes a stereotyped spectral and temporal pattern within individuals-a gamma "fingerprint"-that is highly stable over time. Although their functional significance remains to be fully understood, movement-evoked gamma oscillations may represent frequency specific tuning within cortical-subcortical networks that can be monitored non-invasively using MEG during a variety of motor tasks, and may provide important information regarding cortical dynamics of ongoing motor control.

Keywords: MEG; basal ganglia; frequency tuning; gamma oscillations; motor cortex.