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J Neurophysiol. 2015 Jan 15;113(2):487-508. doi: 10.1152/jn.00094.2014. Epub 2014 Oct 22.

Motor cortex single-neuron and population contributions to compensation for multiple dynamic force fields.

Author information

1
Groupe de Recherche sur le Système Nerveux Central (FRQS), Département de Neurosciences, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
2
Groupe de Recherche sur le Système Nerveux Central (FRQS), Département de Neurosciences, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada john.francis.kalaska@umontreal.ca.

Abstract

To elucidate how primary motor cortex (M1) neurons contribute to the performance of a broad range of different and even incompatible motor skills, we trained two monkeys to perform single-degree-of-freedom elbow flexion/extension movements that could be perturbed by a variety of externally generated force fields. Fields were presented in a pseudorandom sequence of trial blocks. Different computer monitor background colors signaled the nature of the force field throughout each block. There were five different force fields: null field without perturbing torque, assistive and resistive viscous fields proportional to velocity, a resistive elastic force field proportional to position and a resistive viscoelastic field that was the linear combination of the resistive viscous and elastic force fields. After the monkeys were extensively trained in the five field conditions, neural recordings were subsequently made in M1 contralateral to the trained arm. Many caudal M1 neurons altered their activity systematically across most or all of the force fields in a manner that was appropriate to contribute to the compensation for each of the fields. The net activity of the entire sample population likewise provided a predictive signal about the differences in the time course of the external forces encountered during the movements across all force conditions. The neurons showed a broad range of sensitivities to the different fields, and there was little evidence of a modular structure by which subsets of M1 neurons were preferentially activated during movements in specific fields or combinations of fields.

KEYWORDS:

elbow movements; force fields; monkey; motor cortex; neural activity

PMID:
25339714
DOI:
10.1152/jn.00094.2014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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