The neural mechanism exploration of adaptive motor control: Dynamical economic cell allocation in the primary motor cortex

Wei Li, Yangyang Guo, Jing Fan, Chaolin Ma, Xuan Ma, Xi Chen, Jiping He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Adaptive flexibility is of significance for the smooth and efficient movements in goal attainment. However, the underlying work mechanism of the cerebral cortex in adaptive motor control still remains unclear. How does the cerebral cortex organize and coordinate the activity of a large population of cells in the implementation of various motor strategies? To explore this issue, single unit activities from the M1 region and kinematic data were recorded simultaneously in monkeys performing 3D reach-to-grasp tasks with different perturbations. Varying motor control strategies were employed and achieved in different perturbed tasks, via the dynamic allocation of cells to modulate specific movement parameters. An economic principle was proposed for the first time to describe a basic rule for cell allocation in the primary motor cortex. This principle, defined as the Dynamic Economic Cell Allocation Mechanism (DECAM), guarantees benefit maximization in cell allocation under limited neuronal resources, and avoids committing resources to uneconomic investments for unreliable factors with no or little revenue. That is to say, the cells recruited are always preferentially allocated to those factors with reliable return; otherwise, the cells are dispatched to respond to other factors about task. The findings of this study might partially reveal the working mechanisms underlying the role of the cerebral cortex in adaptive motor control, wherein is also of significance for the design of future intelligent-brain-machine interfaces and rehabilitation device.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7491358
Pages (from-to)492-501
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive motor control
  • Brain-machine interfaces
  • Cell allocation
  • Economic principle
  • Primary motor cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • General Neuroscience
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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