Moving in on human motor cortex. Characterizing the relationship between body parts with non-rigid population response fields

Wouter Schellekens, Carlijn Bakker, Nick F Ramsey, Natalia Petridou

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Abstract

For cortical motor activity, the relationships between different body part representations is unknown. Through reciprocal body part relationships, functionality of cortical motor areas with respect to whole body motor control can be characterized. In the current study, we investigate the relationship between body part representations within individual neuronal populations in motor cortices, following a 7 Tesla fMRI 18-body-part motor experiment in combination with our newly developed non-rigid population Response Field (pRF) model and graph theory. The non-rigid pRF metrics reveal somatotopic structures in all included motor cortices covering frontal, parietal, medial and insular cortices and that neuronal populations in primary sensorimotor cortex respond to fewer body parts than secondary motor cortices. Reciprocal body part relationships are estimated in terms of uniqueness, clique-formation, and influence. We report unique response profiles for the knee, a clique of body parts surrounding the ring finger, and a central role for the shoulder and wrist. These results reveal associations among body parts from the perspective of the central nervous system, while being in agreement with intuitive notions of body part usage.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1009955
Pages (from-to)1-31
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

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