Selective Suppression of Local Circuits during Movement Preparation in the Mouse Motor Cortex

Cell Rep. 2017 Mar 14;18(11):2676-2686. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.02.043.


Prepared movements are more efficient than those that are not prepared for. Although changes in cortical activity have been observed prior to a forthcoming action, the circuits involved in motor preparation remain unclear. Here, we use in vivo two-photon calcium imaging to uncover changes in the motor cortex during variable waiting periods prior to a forepaw reaching task in mice. Consistent with previous reports, we observed a subset of neurons with increased activity during the waiting period; however, these neurons did not account for the degree of preparation as defined by reaction time (RT). Instead, the suppression of activity of distinct neurons in the same cortical area better accounts for RT. This suppression of neural activity resulted in a distinct and reproducible pattern when mice were well prepared. Thus, the selective suppression of network activity in the motor cortex may be a key feature of prepared movements.

Keywords: Motor cortex; motor preparation; mouse behavior; reaction time; two-photon imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Pupil / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology