Objective: To investigate the dynamics of communication within the primary somatosensory neuronal network. Methods: Multichannel EEG responses evoked by median nerve stimulation were recorded from six healthy participants. We investigated the directional connectivity of the evoked responses by assessing the Partial Directed Coherence (PDC) among five neuronal nodes (brainstem, thalamus and three in the primary sensorimotor cortex), which had been identified by using the Functional Source Separation (FSS) algorithm. We analyzed directional connectivity separately in the low (1-200. Hz, LF) and high (450-750. Hz, HF) frequency ranges. Results: LF forward connectivity showed peaks at 16, 20, 30 and 50. ms post-stimulus. An estimate of the strength of connectivity was modulated by feedback involving cortical and subcortical nodes. In HF, forward connectivity showed peaks at 20, 30 and 50. ms, with no apparent feedback-related strength changes. Conclusions: In this first non-invasive study in humans, we documented directional connectivity across subcortical and cortical somatosensory pathway, discriminating transmission properties within LF and HF ranges. Significance: The combined use of FSS and PDC in a simple protocol such as median nerve stimulation sheds light on how high and low frequency components of the somatosensory evoked response are functionally interrelated in sustaining somatosensory perception in healthy individuals. Thus, these components may potentially be explored as biomarkers of pathological conditions. © 2012 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2012 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Electroencephalography (EEG)
- Functional connectivity
- Functional Source Separation (FSS)
- Granger causality
- High frequency oscillations (HFO)
- Low frequency oscillations (LFO)
- Partial Directed Coherence (PDC)
- Somatosensory subcortical and primary cortical network