Non-invasive evaluation of input-output characteristics of sensorimotor cerebral areas in healthy humans

P. M. Rossini, G. L. Gigli, M. G. Marciani, F. Zarola, M. Caramia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The topography of scalp SEPs to mixed and sensory median nerve (MN) and to musculocutaneous nerve stimulation was examined in 20 healthy subjects through multichannel (12-36) recording in a 50 msec post-stimulus epoch. MN-SEPs in both frontal leads were characterized by an N18, P20, N24, P28 complex showing maximal amplitude at contralateral parasagittal sites. This was sometimes partly obscured by a wide wave N30 having a fixed latency, but a stepo amplitude gradient moving toward the scalp vertex. A P40 component followed, having longer peak latencies, moving the recording sites from contralateral medial parietal toward the vertex and frontal ipsilateral positions. MN-SEPs in contralateral parietal leads contained a widespread N20 with a maximum source posterior to the Cz-ear line. The following P25 enveloped two subcomponents - early and late P25 - having different distributions. The late P25 showed a maximum - coincident with that of wave N20 - which was localized more posteriorly than that of the early P25. An inconstant wave N33 with progressively longer peak latencies from sagittal toward lateral positions was then recorded. MN-SEPs in contralateral central positions showed a well-localized P22 wave in which both the parietal early P25 and the frontal P20 were vanishing. Common or separate generators for frontal, central and parietal SEPs were discriminated by evaluating the influence of stimulus rate and intensity, as well as of general anesthesia and transient CBF deficits, investigated in 7 patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy. Unifocal anodal threshold shocks were separately delivered to each of the scalp electrodes and motor action potentials were recorded from the target muscle in order to delineate the scalp representation of the motor strip for the upper limb and, consequently, to monitor, through SEP tracings, the short-latency sensory input to the motor cortex for hand and shoulder muscles. This was characterized by a boundary zone separating the parietal N20-early P25 complex, from the fronto-central N18-P22 one. This zone had an oblique direction strongly resembling that of the central sulcus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-100
Number of pages13
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology - Evoked Potentials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1987


  • Dipolar configuration
  • Motor cortex
  • Sensory cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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