Gating of sensory input at subcortical and cortical levels during grasping in humans

Yuming Lei, Recep A. Ozdemir, Monica A Perez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Afferent input from the periphery to the cortex contributes to the control of grasping. How sensory input is gated along the ascending sensory pathway and its functional role during gross and fine grasping in humans remain largely unknown. To address this question, we assessed somatosensory-evoked potential components reflecting activation at subcortical and cortical levels and psychophysical tests at rest, during index finger abduction, precision, and power grip. We found that sensory gating at subcortical level and in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), as well as intracortical inhibition in the S1, increased during power grip compared with the other tasks. To probe the functional relevance of gating in the S1, we examined somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold by measuring the shortest time interval to perceive a pair of electrical stimuli. Somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold increased during power grip, and higher threshold was associated with increased intracortical inhibition in the S1. These novel findings indicate that humans gate sensory input at subcortical level and in the S1 largely during gross compared with fine grasping. Inhibitory processes in the S1 may increase discrimination threshold to allow better performance during power grip.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7237-7247
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 15 2018


  • Discrimination threshold
  • Grasping
  • Power grip
  • Sensory gating
  • Sensory information
  • Somatosensory cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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