Cortical potentials related to voluntary and passive finger movements recorded from subdural electrodes in humans



Movement-related potentials were recorded from subdural electrodes placed on the precentral and postcentral cortex in 3 patients undergoing operation for intractable epilepsy. With self-initiated index finger movement, a negative potential of 25 to 50 microvolts in amplitude, preceding onset of the electromyographic activity by 60 to 95 ms (or onset of movement by 150 to 230 ms), was recorded from the hand somatosensory postrolandic area in all 3 patients. A similar potential preceding the movement was recorded from the precentral hand motor area in one subject who was the only patient in whom the precentral electrodes were placed on the hand motor area. Following active and passive movements, a clearly defined positivity (18 to 32 ms after a photometer trigger) that reversed phase across the central fissure was recorded. The premovement potentials are most probably generated by pyramidal tract neurons and motor-function-related neurons located in the post- and prerolandic areas. The postmovement positivity is most probably due to short-latency kinesthetic reafferent activation of the posterior bank of the central fissure (equivalent to P2 of the somatosensory evoked potentials).