|The human motor cortex contributes to gravity compensation to maintain posture and during reaching.
|Year of Publication
|Hardesty, RL, Ellaway, PH, Gritsenko, V
|Electromyography, Evoked Potentials, Motor, Humans, Motor Cortex, Movement, Muscle, Skeletal, Posture, Pyramidal Tracts, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
The neural control of posture and movement is interdependent. During voluntary movement, the neural motor command is executed by the motor cortex through the corticospinal tract and its collaterals and subcortical targets. Here we address the question of whether the control mechanism for the postural adjustments at nonmoving joints is also involved in overcoming gravity at the moving joints. We used single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation to measure the corticospinal excitability in humans during postural and reaching tasks. We hypothesized that the corticospinal excitability is proportional to background muscle activity and the gravity-related joint moments during both static postures and reaching movements. To test this hypothesis, we used visual targets in virtual reality to instruct five postures and three movements with or against gravity. We then measured the amplitude and gain of motor evoked potentials in multiple arm and hand muscles at several phases of the reaching motion and during static postures. The stimulation caused motor evoked potentials in all muscles that were proportional to the muscle activity. During both static postures and reaching movements, the muscle activity and the corticospinal contribution to these muscles changed in proportion with the postural moments needed to support the arm against gravity, supporting the hypothesis. Notably, these changes happened not only in antigravity muscles. Altogether, these results provide evidence that the changes in corticospinal excitability cause muscle cocontraction that modulates limb stiffness. This suggests that the motor cortex is involved in producing postural adjustments that support the arm against gravity during posture maintenance and reaching. Animal studies suggest that the corticospinal tract and its collaterals are crucial for producing postural adjustments that accompany movement in limbs other than the moving limb. Here we provide evidence for a similar control schema for both arm posture maintenance and gravity compensation during movement of the same limb. The observed interplay between the postural and movement control signals within the corticospinal tract may help explain the underlying neural motor deficits after stroke.
|PubMed Central ID
|P20 GM109098 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
T32GM081741 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
P20GM109098 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
T32 GM081741 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
P30GM103503 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
P30 GM103503 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
T32 AG052375 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P41 EB018783 / EB / NIBIB NIH HHS / United States
T32AG052375 / NH / NIH HHS / United States
P41EB018783 / NH / NIH HHS / United States