The oscillatory network of simple repetitive bimanual movements.

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

Indexed on: 19 Jul '05Published on: 19 Jul '05Published in: Brain research. Cognitive brain research


Bimanual synchronization relies on the precisely coordinated interplay of both hands. It is assumed that during temporal bimanual coordination, timing signals controlling each hand might be integrated. Although a specific role of the cerebellum for this integration process has been suggested, its neural foundations are still poorly understood. Since dynamic interactions between spatially distributed neural activity are reflected in oscillatory neural coupling, the aim of the present study was to characterize the dynamic interplay between participating brain structures. More specifically, the study aimed at investigating whether any evidence for the integration of bilateral cerebellar hemispheres could be found. Seven right-handed subjects synchronized bimanual index finger-taps to a regular pacing signal. We recorded continuous neuromagnetic activity using a 122-channel whole-head neuromagnetometer and surface EMGs of the first dorsal interosseus (FDI) muscle of both hands. Coherence analysis revealed that an oscillatory network coupling at 8-12 Hz subserves task execution. The constituents are bilateral primary sensorimotor and premotor areas, posterior-parietal and primary auditory cortex, thalamus and cerebellum. Coupling occurred at different cortical and subcortical levels within and between both hemispheres. Coupling between primary sensorimotor and premotor areas was observed directly and indirectly via the thalamus. Coupling direction suggests that information was integrated within the left premotor cortex corroborating a specific role of the left premotor cortex for motor control in right-handers. Most importantly, our data indicate strong coupling between both cerebellar hemispheres substantiating the hypothesis that cerebellar signals might be integrated during task execution.