Joint cross-correlation analysis reveals complex, time-dependent functional relationship between cortical neurons and arm electromyograms.
Correlation between cortical activity and electromyographic (EMG) activity of limb muscles has long been a subject of neurophysiological studies, especially in terms of corticospinal connectivity. Interest in this issue has recently increased due to the development of brain-machine interfaces with output signals that mimic muscle force. For this study, three monkeys were implanted with multielectrode arrays in multiple cortical areas. One monkey performed self-timed touch pad presses, whereas the other two executed arm reaching movements. We analyzed the dynamic relationship between cortical neuronal activity and arm EMGs using a joint cross-correlation (JCC) analysis that evaluated trial-by-trial correlation as a function of time intervals within a trial. JCCs revealed transient correlations between the EMGs of multiple muscles and neural activity in motor, premotor and somatosensory cortical areas. Matching results were obtained using spike-triggered averages corrected by subtracting trial-shuffled data. Compared with spike-triggered averages, JCCs more readily revealed dynamic changes in cortico-EMG correlations. JCCs showed that correlation peaks often sharpened around movement times and broadened during delay intervals. Furthermore, JCC patterns were directionally selective for the arm-reaching task. We propose that such highly dynamic, task-dependent and distributed relationships between cortical activity and EMGs should be taken into consideration for future brain-machine interfaces that generate EMG-like signals.
Zhuang, KZ; Lebedev, MA; Nicolelis, MAL
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