Parietofrontal oscillations show hand-specific interactions with top-down movement plans

J Neurophysiol. 2022 Dec 1;128(6):1518-1533. doi: 10.1152/jn.00240.2022. Epub 2022 Nov 2.


To generate a hand-specific reach plan, the brain must integrate hand-specific signals with the desired movement strategy. Although various neurophysiology/imaging studies have investigated hand-target interactions in simple reach-to-target tasks, the whole brain timing and distribution of this process remain unclear, especially for more complex, instruction-dependent motor strategies. Previously, we showed that a pro/anti pointing instruction influences magnetoencephalographic (MEG) signals in frontal cortex that then propagate recurrently through parietal cortex (Blohm G, Alikhanian H, Gaetz W, Goltz HC, DeSouza JF, Cheyne DO, Crawford JD. NeuroImage 197: 306-319, 2019). Here, we contrasted left versus right hand pointing in the same task to investigate 1) which cortical regions of interest show hand specificity and 2) which of those areas interact with the instructed motor plan. Eight bilateral areas, the parietooccipital junction (POJ), superior parietooccipital cortex (SPOC), supramarginal gyrus (SMG), medial/anterior interparietal sulcus (mIPS/aIPS), primary somatosensory/motor cortex (S1/M1), and dorsal premotor cortex (PMd), showed hand-specific changes in beta band power, with four of these (M1, S1, SMG, aIPS) showing robust activation before movement onset. M1, SMG, SPOC, and aIPS showed significant interactions between contralateral hand specificity and the instructed motor plan but not with bottom-up target signals. Separate hand/motor signals emerged relatively early and lasted through execution, whereas hand-motor interactions only occurred close to movement onset. Taken together with our previous results, these findings show that instruction-dependent motor plans emerge in frontal cortex and interact recurrently with hand-specific parietofrontal signals before movement onset to produce hand-specific motor behaviors.NEW & NOTEWORTHY The brain must generate different motor signals depending on which hand is used. The distribution and timing of hand use/instructed motor plan integration are not understood at the whole brain level. Using MEG we show that different action planning subnetworks code for hand usage and integrating hand use into a hand-specific motor plan. The timing indicates that frontal cortex first creates a general motor plan and then integrates hand specificity to produce a hand-specific motor plan.

Keywords: arm movements; magnetoencephalography; movement planning; pointing; sensorimotor transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Hand / physiology
  • Motor Cortex* / physiology
  • Movement / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance* / physiology

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.19962224