Moving without sensory feedback: online TMS over the dorsal premotor cortex impairs motor performance during ischemic nerve block

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The study investigates the role of dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) in generating predicted sensory consequences of movements, i.e. corollary discharges. In 2 different sessions, we disrupted PMd and parietal hand's multisensory integration site (control area) with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) during a finger-sequence-tapping motor task. In this TMS sham-controlled design, the task was performed with normal sensory feedback and during upper-limb ischemic nerve block (INB), in a time-window where participants moved without somatosensation. Errors and movement timing (objective measures) and ratings about movement perception (subjective measures) were collected. We found that INB overall worsens objective and subjective measures, but crucially in the PMd session, the absence of somatosensation together with TMS disruption induced more errors, less synchronized movements, and increased subjective difficulty ratings as compared with the parietal control session (despite a carryover effect between real and sham stimulation to be addressed in future studies). Contrarily, after parietal area interference session, when sensory information is already missing due to INB, motor performance was not aggravated. Altogether these findings suggest that the loss of actual (through INB) and predicted (through PMd disruption) somatosensory feedback degraded motor performance and perception, highlighting the crucial role of PMd in generating corollary discharge.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)2315–2327
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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