Asymmetry of interhemispheric interaction in left-handed subjects.

Research paper by Bettina B Pollok, Joachim J Gross, Alfons A Schnitzler

Indexed on: 10 Aug '06Published on: 10 Aug '06Published in: Experimental Brain Research


In right-handed subjects the execution of a simple finger-tapping task is associated with an asymmetry of interhemispheric interaction, probably suggesting that the dominant left hemisphere inhibits the right one. The present study investigated the left-handed subjects in order to elucidate whether this asymmetry is related to handedness. Nineteen healthy subjects performed unimanual left, right, and bimanual auditorily paced finger-tapping tasks while neuromagnetic activity was recorded with a 122-channel whole-head neuromagnetometer (MEG). Simultaneously, we recorded activity of the first dorsal interosseus (FDI) muscle of both hands. By using the analysis tool dynamic imaging of coherent sources (DICS), oscillatory activity at alpha as well as at beta frequency within the primary sensorimotor (S1/M1) and premotor (PMC) cortex was localized. As expected, we observed oscillatory coupling between S1/M1 and PMC contralateral to the moving hand. Furthermore, coupling between left PMC and bilateral S1/M1 occurred in each movement condition, suggesting that the left PMC modulates neural activity in bilateral primary sensorimotor cortices independent of the moving hand. Coupling between bilateral S1/M1 occurred more frequently and significantly stronger during the right hand condition. This result demonstrates the same interhemispheric coupling pattern as in right-handed subjects, suggesting that the asymmetry of this interaction is not due to hand dominance. A specialization of the left premotor cortex either for superior motor control per se or for the execution of sequential tasks might account for these results.