Natural Science

Volume 13, Issue 2 (February 2021)

ISSN Print: 2150-4091   ISSN Online: 2150-4105

Google-based Impact Factor: 2.51  Citations  h5-index & Ranking

Motor Control Network Effective Connectivity in Regulating Muscle Force Output

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DOI: 10.4236/ns.2021.132002    72 Downloads   256 Views  


Objective of the study: This study aimed at characterizing output features of the higher-order motor control centers (hoMCCs), including secondary (premotor cortex [Pre] and supplementary motor area [SMA]) and association (prefrontal cortex [PFC]) motor regions to the primary motor cortex (M1) during graded force tasks. It is well known that one of the major roles of the primary motor cortex (M1) is controlling motor output such as muscle force. However, it is unclear how the hoMCCs interact with M1 in regulating voluntary muscle contractions. Methods: fMRI data was acquired during graded force tasks and fMRI-based effective connectivity (EC) and muscle force analyses were performed to study the relationship between hoMCCs-M1 effective connectivity and voluntarily exerted handgrip force. Results: The results show that there is a consistent information flow from the hoMCCs to M1 under all force conditions, suggesting a hierarchical control mechanism in the brain in regulating voluntary muscle force. Only the premotor cortex exhibited a significant role in mediating the level of force production through its EC with M1 but that role diminished when the exerted force was high, suggesting perhaps a ceiling and/or fatigue effect on the EC. A flip in the direction of EC from the primary sensory cortex (S1) to the hoMCCs (PFC, SMA, and Pre) at lower force levels while at higher forces EC was observed from the hoMCCs to S1. Conclusion: The hoMCCs regulate M1 output to produce desired voluntary muscle force. Only the Pre-to-M1 connectivity strength directly correlates with the force level especially from low to moderate levels. The hoMCCs are involved in modulating higher force production likely by strengthening M1 output and downgrading inhibition from S1 to M1.

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Saleh, S. , Jiang, Z. and Yue, G. (2021) Motor Control Network Effective Connectivity in Regulating Muscle Force Output. Natural Science, 13, 9-17. doi: 10.4236/ns.2021.132002.

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