A neuromagnetic study of movement-related somatosensory gating in the human brain

Rumyana Kristeva-Feige, Simone Rossi, Vittorio Pizzella, Luisa Lopez, Sergio Nicola Erné, Jochen Edrich, Paolo Maria Rossini

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Neuromagnetic fields from the left cerebral hemisphere of five healthy, right-handed subjects were investigated under three different experimental conditions: (1) electrical stimulation of the right index finger (task S); (2) voluntary movement of the same finger (M); (3) M+S condition, consisting of voluntary movements of the right index finger triggering the electrical stimulus at the very beginning of the electromyogram. The three conditions were administered in random order every 5-8 s. In addition, the task somatosensory evoked fields (task SEFs) gathered during condition (1) were compared with control SEFs recorded at the beginning of the experiment during rest. In all subjects the overlay of somatosensory stimulation on movement provoked a decrement in brain responsiveness (gating) as determined by the amplitude of gated SEFs. The latter was found as the difference between the neuromagnetic fields during M+S condition (overlaying of movement and sensory stimulation) minus neuromagnetic fields under M condition (M only). The gating effect was found to begin approximately 30 ms after movement onset, and to last for the whole period of the ongoing movement. The theoretical locus of gating was estimated by dipole localisation of the difference between task SEFs and gated SEFS using a moving dipole model. The site of the 'early' gating effect (<40 ms) was found to be more anteriorly located than the 'later' (> 40 ms) gating effect. The task SEFs were found to be larger (significant after 30 ms) than the control SEFs elicited under the basal condition. The results are discussed with respect to timing, mechanism (centrifugal and centripetal), locus and selectivity of gating. In addition, the results are discussed with regard to clinical application (measuring attentional deficits in patients with impairments of higher mental functions and measuring gating deficits in patients with disturbed sensorimotor integration).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-514
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Gating
  • Human
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • Motor cortex
  • Movement-related magnetic fields (MRFs)
  • Neuromagnetic source localisation
  • Somatosensory cortex
  • Somatosensory evoked fields (SEFs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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