Background Recent studies of functional or effective connectivity in the brain have reported that motor-related brain regions were activated during motor execution and motor imagery, but the relationship between motor and cognitive areas has not yet been completely understood. The objectives of our study were to analyze the effective connectivity between motor and cognitive networks in order to define network dynamics during motor execution and motor imagery in healthy individuals. Second, we analyzed the differences in effective connectivity between correct and incorrect responses during motor execution and imagery using dynamic causal modeling (DCM) of electroencephalography (EEG) data. Method Twenty healthy subjects performed a sequence of finger tapping trials using either motor execution or motor imagery, and the performances were recorded. Changes in effective connectivity between the primary motor cortex (M1), supplementary motor area (SMA), premotor cortex (PMC), and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) were estimated using dynamic causal modeling. Bayesian model averaging with family-level inference and fixed-effects analysis was applied to determine the most likely connectivity model for these regions. Results Motor execution and imagery showed inputs to distinct brain regions, the premotor cortex and the supplementary motor area, respectively. During motor execution, the coupling strength of a feedforward network from the DLPFC to the PMC was greater than that during motor imagery. During motor imagery, the coupling strengths of a feedforward network from the PMC to the SMA and of a feedback network from M1 to the PMC were higher than that during motor execution. In imagined movement, although there were connectivity differences between correct and incorrect task responses, each motor imagery task that included correct and incorrect responses showed similar network connectivity characteristics. Correct motor imagery responses showed connectivity from the PMC to the DLPFC, while the incorrect responses had characteristic connectivity from the SMA to the DLPFC. Conclusions These findings provide an understanding of effective connectivity between motor and cognitive areas during motor execution and imagery as well as the basis for future connectivity studies for patients with stroke.
Kim, Y. K., Park, E., Lee, A., Im, C. H., & Kim, Y. H. (2018). Changes in network connectivity during motor imagery and execution. PLoS ONE, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190715