The role of the basal ganglia in bimanual coordination

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.
Brain Research (Impact Factor: 2.84). 07/2007; 1151(1):62-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2007.01.142
Source: PubMed


The functional anatomical role of the basal ganglia in bimanual coordination is unknown. Utilizing functional MRI (fMRI) at 3 T, we analyzed brain activity during three different typing tasks. The first task consisted of typing with parallel finger movements (moving left to right with four fingers on both hands). The second task was mirror movements (moving little finger to index finger on both hands), and the third task compared a resting condition with right-handed unimanual typing (moving little finger to index finger). Task dependent BOLD activity in the supplementary motor area (SMA) and dorsolateral premotor areas was observed. In addition, activation patterns were present in the cerebellar vermis during bimanual coordination tasks, with greater activation in the parallel than in the mirror condition. Finally, we also identified activity in the putamen during the tasks described above. Interestingly, putaminal activity was greatest during the period of motor task initiation, and activity during this period was greatest in the parallel condition. Our results suggest a critical role of the basal ganglia in the neural control of bimanual coordination.

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    • "The putamen is thought to synchronize cortical activity that is associated with the selection and propagation of movements (Brown and Marsden, 1998). Specifically, at the initiation of bimanual movements, the putamen showed peak activations bilaterally, which was interpreted as the point in time when specific contributions from higher and lower level cortical motor areas have to be synchronized (Kraft et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Healthy aging is associated with decline in basic motor functioning and higher motor control. Here, we investigated age-related differences in the brain-wide functional connectivity (FC) pattern of the subthalamic nucleus (STN), which plays an important role in motor response control. As earlier studies revealed functional coupling between STN and basal ganglia, which both are known to influence the conservativeness of motor responses on a superordinate level, we tested the hypothesis that STN FC with the striatum becomes dysbalanced with age. To this end, we performed a seed-based resting-state analysis of fMRI data from 361 healthy adults (mean age: 41.8, age range: 18-85) using bilateral STN as the seed region of interest. Age was included as a covariate to identify regions showing age-related changes of FC with the STN seed. The analysis revealed positive FC of the STN with several previously described subcortical and cortical regions like the anterior cingulate and sensorimotor cortex, as well as not-yet reported regions including central and posterior insula. With increasing age, we observed reduced positive FC with caudate nucleus, thalamus, and insula as well as increased positive FC with sensorimotor cortex and putamen. Furthermore, an age-related reduction of negative FC was found with precuneus and posterior cingulate cortex. We suggest that this reduced de-coupling of brain areas involved in self-relevant but motor-unrelated cognitive processing (i.e. precuneus and posterior cingulate cortex) from the STN motor network may represent a potential mechanism behind the age-dependent decline in motor performance. At the same time, older adults appear to compensate for this decline by releasing superordinate motor control areas, in particular caudate nucleus and insula, from STN interference while increasing STN-mediated response control over lower level motor areas like sensorimotor cortex and putamen.
    Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 07/2014; 6:178. DOI:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00178 · 4.00 Impact Factor
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    • "With this in mind, it is not surprising that the SMA receives strong indirect projections from the basal ganglia (GPi) via the thalamus [115]. In PD, evidence points out to impaired basal ganglia function through depleted substantia nigra dopaminergic cells, leading to reduced motor control [116]. Interestingly, MM are one of the symptoms that can be present in PD [83]. "
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    ABSTRACT: To perform strictly unilateral movements, the brain relies on a large cortical and subcortical network. This network enables healthy adults to perform complex unimanual motor tasks without the activation of contralateral muscles. However, mirror movements (involuntary movements in ipsilateral muscles that can accompany intended movement) can be seen in healthy individuals if a task is complex or fatiguing, in childhood, and with increasing age. Lateralization of movement depends on complex interhemispheric communication between cortical (i.e., dorsal premotor cortex, supplementary motor area) and subcortical (i.e., basal ganglia) areas, probably coursing through the corpus callosum (CC). Here, we will focus on transcallosal interhemispheric inhibition (IHI), which facilitates complex unilateral movements and appears to play an important role in handedness, pathological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, and stroke recovery.
    Neural Plasticity 12/2012; 2012(1):627816. DOI:10.1155/2012/627816 · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    • "Despite the importance of upper extremity motor function, the impact of providing cues to improve upper extremity performance of PD patients has not been examined systematically. Neuroanatomical (Kraft et al., 2007; Wu, Wang, Hallet, Li, & Chan, 2010) and animal (Kermadi, Liu, Tempini, Calciati, & Rouiller, 1998) studies have indicated that the basal ganglia contribute to supplementary motor area (SMA) function and bimanual coordination. Only a few studies have examined the influence of auditory cues on bimanual timing and coordination of the upper limbs. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated performance of unimanual and bimanual anti-phase and in-phase upper limb line drawing using three different types of cues. Fifteen Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, 15 elderly, and 15 young adults drew lines away from and towards their body on a tabletop every 1000 ms for 30 s under three different cueing conditions: (1) verbal ('up', 'down'); (2) auditory (high tone, low tone); (3) visual (target line switched from top to bottom). PD patients had larger and more variable amplitudes which may be related to the finding that they also produced more curvilinear movements than young and elderly adults. Consistent with previous research, when compared to the elderly and young adult group PD patients produced a mean relative phase which deviated more from the instructed coordination modes and they showed larger variability of relative phase in bimanual coordination, especially in anti-phase conditions. For all groups, auditory and verbal cues resulted in lower coefficient of variance of cycle time, lower variability of amplitude and lower variability of relative phase than visual cues. The benefit of auditory cues may be related to the timing nature of the task or factors related to the auditory cues (e.g., reduced attentional demands, more kinesthetic focus).
    Human movement science 12/2010; 30(4):770-82. DOI:10.1016/j.humov.2010.08.018 · 1.60 Impact Factor
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