Spatiotemporal integration of tactile information in human somatosensory cortex.

Z Zhu, EA Disbrow, JM Zumer, David J. McGonigle, SS Nagarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background
Our goal was to examine the spatiotemporal integration of tactile information in the hand representation of human primary somatosensory cortex (anterior parietal somatosensory areas 3b and 1), secondary somatosensory cortex (S2), and the parietal ventral area (PV), using high-resolution whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG). To examine representational overlap and adaptation in bilateral somatosensory cortices, we used an oddball paradigm to characterize the representation of the index finger (D2; deviant stimulus) as a function of the location of the standard stimulus in both right- and left-handed subjects.

Results
We found that responses to deviant stimuli presented in the context of standard stimuli with an interstimulus interval (ISI) of 0.33s were significantly and bilaterally attenuated compared to deviant stimulation alone in S2/PV, but not in anterior parietal cortex. This attenuation was dependent upon the distance between the deviant and standard stimuli: greater attenuation was found when the standard was immediately adjacent to the deviant (D3 and D2 respectively), with attenuation decreasing for non-adjacent fingers (D4 and opposite D2). We also found that cutaneous mechanical stimulation consistently elicited not only a strong early contralateral cortical response but also a weak ipsilateral response in anterior parietal cortex. This ipsilateral response appeared an average of 10.7 ± 6.1 ms later than the early contralateral response. In addition, no hemispheric differences either in response amplitude, response latencies or oddball responses were found, independent of handedness.

Conclusion
Our findings are consistent with the large receptive fields and long neuronal recovery cycles that have been described in S2/PV, and suggest that this expression of spatiotemporal integration underlies the complex functions associated with this region. The early ipsilateral response suggests that anterior parietal fields also receive tactile input from the ipsilateral hand. The lack of a hemispheric difference in responses to digit stimulation supports a lack of any functional asymmetry in human somatosensory cortex.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalBMC Neuroscience
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2007

Bibliographical note

© 2007 Zhu et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0),
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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