Corticomuscular coherence between motor cortex, somatosensory areas and forearm muscles in the monkey

Claire L. Witham, Minyan Wang, Stuart N. Baker

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Corticomuscular coherence has previously been reported between primary motor cortex (M1) and contralateral muscles. We examined whether such coherence could also be seen from somatosensory areas. Local field potentials (LFPs) were recorded from primary somatosensory cortex (S1; areas 3a and 2) and posterior parietal cortex (PPC; area 5) simultaneously with M1 LFP and forearm EMG activity in two monkeys during an index finger flexion task. Significant beta-band (∼20 Hz) corticomuscular coherence was found in all areas investigated. Directed coherence (Granger causality) analysis was used to investigate the direction of effects. Surprisingly, the strongest beta-band directed coherence was in the direction from S1/PPC to muscle; it was much weaker in the ascending direction. Examination of the phase of directed coherence provided estimates of the time delay from cortex to muscle. Delays were longer from M1 (∼62 ms for the first dorsal interosseous muscle) than from S1/PPC (∼36 ms). We then looked at coherence and directed coherence between M1 and S1 for clues to this discrepancy. Directed coherence showed large beta-band effects from S1/PPC to M1, with smaller directed coherence in the reverse direction. The directed coherence phase suggested a delay of ∼40 ms from M1 to S1. Corticomuscular coherence from S1/PPC could involve multiple pathways; the most important is probably common input from M1 to S1/PPC and muscles. If correct, this implies that somatosensory cortex receives oscillatory efference copy information from M1 about the motor command. This could allow sensory inflow to be interpreted in the light of its motor context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalFrontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Oscillations
  • Sensorimotor

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