We tested a hypothesis on force-stabilizing synergies during four-finger accurate force production at three levels: (1) The level of the reciprocal and coactivation commands, estimated as the referent coordinate and apparent stiffness of all four fingers combined; (2) The level of individual finger forces; and (3) The level of firing of individual motor units (MU). Young, healthy participants performed accurate four-finger force production at a comfortable, non-fatiguing level under visual feedback on the total force magnitude. Mechanical reflections of the reciprocal and coactivation commands were estimated using small, smooth finger perturbations applied by the "inverse piano" device. Firing frequencies of motor units in the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) and extensor digitorum communis (EDC) were estimated using surface recording. Principal component analysis was used to identify robust MU groups (MU-modes) with parallel changes in the firing frequency. The framework of the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis was used to compute synergy indices in the spaces of referent coordinate and apparent stiffness, finger forces, and MU-mode magnitudes. Force-stabilizing synergies were seen at all three levels. They were present in the MU-mode spaces defined for MUs in FDS, in EDC, and pooled over both muscles. No effects of hand dominance were seen. The synergy indices defined at different levels of analysis showed no correlations across the participants. The findings are interpreted within the theory of control with spatial referent coordinates for the effectors. We conclude that force stabilization gets contributions from three levels of neural control, likely associated with cortical, subcortical, and spinal circuitry.

Three levels of neural control contributing to performance-stabilizing synergies in multi-finger tasks

Benamati, Anna;
2024-01-01

Abstract

We tested a hypothesis on force-stabilizing synergies during four-finger accurate force production at three levels: (1) The level of the reciprocal and coactivation commands, estimated as the referent coordinate and apparent stiffness of all four fingers combined; (2) The level of individual finger forces; and (3) The level of firing of individual motor units (MU). Young, healthy participants performed accurate four-finger force production at a comfortable, non-fatiguing level under visual feedback on the total force magnitude. Mechanical reflections of the reciprocal and coactivation commands were estimated using small, smooth finger perturbations applied by the "inverse piano" device. Firing frequencies of motor units in the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) and extensor digitorum communis (EDC) were estimated using surface recording. Principal component analysis was used to identify robust MU groups (MU-modes) with parallel changes in the firing frequency. The framework of the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis was used to compute synergy indices in the spaces of referent coordinate and apparent stiffness, finger forces, and MU-mode magnitudes. Force-stabilizing synergies were seen at all three levels. They were present in the MU-mode spaces defined for MUs in FDS, in EDC, and pooled over both muscles. No effects of hand dominance were seen. The synergy indices defined at different levels of analysis showed no correlations across the participants. The findings are interpreted within the theory of control with spatial referent coordinates for the effectors. We conclude that force stabilization gets contributions from three levels of neural control, likely associated with cortical, subcortical, and spinal circuitry.
2024
hand
hierarchical control
motor unit
referent coordinate
spinal cord
uncontrolled manifold
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1129506
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