Rate Dependence of Regional Cerebral Activation During Performance of a Repetitive Motor Task: A PET Study

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1996 Sep;16(5):794-803. doi: 10.1097/00004647-199609000-00004.


Using repeated positron emission tomography (PET) measures of regional cerebral counts, we investigated the regional cortical activations induced in eight normal subjects performing eight different frequencies of fingertapping (0.5-4 Hz) with the right index finger. The task was auditorially cued and the performance recorded during the scanning procedure. Performance evaluation showed increased error rates, during fingertapping, of high and low frequencies, and the best tapping performance was measured in the midrange of frequencies. Significantly activated areas (p < 0.05) of normalized cerebral counts were located in the left sensorimotor cortex (MISI), right motor cortex, left thalamus, right insula, supplementary motor area (SMA), and bilaterally in the primary auditory cortex and the cerebellum. Statistical evaluation showed a significant (p < 0.01) and positive dependence of cerebral activation upon movement rate in the contralateral MISI. There was no significant rate dependence of cerebral activation in other activated motor areas. The SMA and the right cerebellar hemisphere showed a more uniform activation throughout the tapping frequency range. Furthermore, we found a stimulus rate dependence of cerebral activation in the primary auditory cortex. We believe that the present data provide useful information for the preparation and interpretation of future motor activation studies of normal human subjects and may serve as reference points for studies of pathological conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*