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Context-specific early recruitment of small motor units in the shoulder muscle reflects a reach movement plan

Rungta, S and Murthy, A (2023) Context-specific early recruitment of small motor units in the shoulder muscle reflects a reach movement plan. In: Journal of neurophysiology, 129 (5). pp. 1094-1113.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00522.2022


Understanding how motor plans are transformed into appropriate patterns of muscle activity is a central question in motor control. Although muscle activity during the delay period has not been reported using conventional electromyographic (EMG) approaches, we isolated motor unit activity using a high-density surface EMG signal from the anterior deltoid muscle to test whether heterogeneity in motor units could reveal early preparatory activity. Consistent with our previous work (Rungta SP, Basu D, Sendhilnathan N, Murthy A. J Neurophysiol 126: 451-463, 2021), we observed early selective recruitment of small amplitude size motor units during the delay period for hand movements similar to the observed early recruitment of small-amplitude motor units in neck muscles of nonhuman primates performing delayed saccade tasks. This early activity was spatially specific and increased with time and resembled an accumulation to threshold model that correlated with movement onset time. Such early recruitment of ramping motor units was observed at the single trial level as well. In contrast, no such recruitment of large amplitude size motor units, called nonrampers, was observed during the delay period. Instead, nonrampers became spatially specific and predicted movement onset time after the delay period. Interestingly, spatially specific delay period activity was only observed for hand movements but was absent for isometric force-driven cursor movements. Nonetheless, muscle activity was correlated with the time it took to initiate movements in both task conditions for nonrampers. Overall, our results reveal a novel heterogeneity in the EMG activity that allows the expression of early motor preparation via small amplitude size motor units that are differentially activated during movement initiation.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We studied the spatial and temporal aspects of response preparation in the anterior deltoid muscle using high-density surface EMG. Our results show that early spatially specific ramping activity that predicted reaction times could be accessed from muscle activity but was absent during isometric force-driven cursor movements. Such ramping activity could be quantified using an accumulator framework across trials, as well as within single trials, but was not observed in isometric reach tasks involving cursor movements.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of neurophysiology
Publisher: NLM (Medline)
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to NLM (Medline).
Keywords: animal; electromyography; movement (physiology); muscle isometric contraction; neurophysiological recruitment; physiology; shoulder; skeletal muscle; upper limb, Animals; Electromyography; Isometric Contraction; Movement; Muscle, Skeletal; Recruitment, Neurophysiological; Shoulder; Upper Extremity
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Neuroscience
Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Mathematics
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2023 07:44
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2023 07:44
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/81945

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