April 14, 2021

Multimodal sensorimotor integration of visual and kinaesthetic afferents modulates motor circuits in humans

Optimal motor control requires the effective integration of multi-modal information. Visual information of movement performed by others even enhances potentials in the upper motor neurons, through the mirror-neuron system. On the other hand, it is known that motor control is intimately associated with afferent proprioceptive information. Kinaesthetic information is also generated by passive, external-driven movements. In the context of sensory integration, its an important question, how such passive kinaesthetic information and visually perceived movements are integrated. We studied the effects of visual and kinaesthetic information in combination, as well as isolated, on sensorimotor-integration — compared to a control condition. For this, we measured the change in the excitability of motor cortex (M1) using low-intensity TMS. We hypothesised that both visual motoneurons and kinaesthetic motoneurons could enhance the excitability of motor responses. We found that passive wrist movements increase the motor excitability, suggesting that kinaesthetic motoneurons do exist. The kinaesthetic influence on the motor threshold was even stronger than the visual information. Moreover, the simultaneous visual and passive kinaesthetic information increased the cortical excitability more than each of them independently. Thus, for the first time, we found evidence for the integration of passive kinaesthetic- and visual-sensory stimuli.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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