Cortical and subcortical mechanisms for precisely controlled force generation and force relaxation

Matthew B. Spraker, Daniel M. Corcos, David E. Vaillancourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gripping objects during everyday manual tasks requires the coordination of muscle contractions and muscle relaxations. The vast majority of studies have focused on muscle contractions. Although previous work has examined the motor cortex during muscle relaxation, the role of brain areas beyond motor cortex remains to be elucidated. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to directly compare slow and precisely controlled force generation and force relaxation in humans. Contralateral primary motor cortex and bilateral caudate nucleus had greater activity during force generation compared with force relaxation. Conversely, right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) had greater activity while relaxing force compared with generating force. Also, anterior cingulate cortex had greater deactivation while relaxing force compared with generating force. These findings were further strengthened by the fact that force output parameters such as the amplitude, rate, duration, variability, and error did not affect the brain imaging findings. These results demonstrate that the neural mechanisms underlying slow and precisely controlled force relaxation differ across prefrontal-striatal and motor cortical-striatal circuits. Moreover, this study demonstrates that the DLPFC is not only involved in slow and precisely controlled force generation, but has greater involvement in regulating slow and precisely controlled muscle relaxation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2640-2650
Number of pages11
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume19
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

Keywords

  • Basal ganglia
  • Force
  • Motor cortex
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Relaxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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