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Keywords:

  • event-related oscillations;
  • gamma-band response;
  • human brain;
  • movement;
  • stereotaxy

Abstract

The generators and functional correlates of gamma oscillations within the sensorimotor cortex remain unclear. With the goal of locating the oscillations' sources precisely and then studying the relationship between oscillatory reactivity and ongoing movement, we recorded stereoelectroencephalograms with intracerebral electrodes in eight epileptic subjects awaiting surgical treatment. The sensorimotor cortex was free of lesions and was exhaustively explored with the electrodes. Subjects were asked to perform various self-paced movements contralateral to the exploration zone, brief and sustained, distal movements and a pointing movement. We used the event-related desynchronization method to quantify the reactivity of the 40–60-Hz band before, during and after the performance of movement. A very focused, event-related synchronization of gamma rhythms was found in all subjects. It was predominantly observed in the primary sensorimotor area and its distribution was consistent with the functional map established using electrical stimulations. Two different temporal patterns were observed, the event-related synchronization of gamma rhythms was related either to movement onset or to movement offset but was never recorded before movement. This observation suggests that gamma oscillations are more probably related to movement execution than to motor planning. The different patterns argue in favour of multiple functional roles; it has been shown that gamma oscillations may support the efferent drive to the muscles and here we show that they are also likely to be related to somatosensory integration. We therefore suggest that gamma oscillations in the 40–60-Hz band may support afferent sensory feedback to the sensorimotor cortex during the performance of movement.