1Sobell Department, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK
2Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives de la Me’diterrane’e, Marseilles, France
3Departmento di Neuroscienze, Sezione di Fisiologia, Universita’ di Parma, Parma, Italy
The selectivity for object-specific grasp by local field potentials (LFPs) was investigated in two awake macaque monkeys trained to observe, reach out, grasp and hold one of six objects presented in a pseudorandom order. Simultaneous, multiple electrode recordings were made from the hand representations of primary motor cortex (M1) and ventral premotor cortex (area F5). LFP activity was well developed during the observation and hold periods of the task, especially in the beta frequency range (15-30 Hz). Selectivity of LFP activity for upcoming grasp was rare in the observation period, but common during stable grasp. The majority of M1 (90/92) and F5 (81/97) sites showed selectivity at least one frequency, which was maximal in the beta range but also present at higher frequencies (30-50 Hz). When the LFP power associated with grasp of a specific object was large in the beta frequency range it was usually of low power in the higher 30-50 Hz range, and vice-versa. Simple hook grips involving flexion of one or more fingers were associated with large beta power, while more complex grips involving the thumb (e.g. precision grip) were associated with small beta power. At many M1 sites there was a highly significant inverse relationship between the tuning of spikes (including those of identified pyramidal tract neurons) and beta range LFP for different grasps, whereas a positive correlation was found at higher frequencies. High levels of beta LFP and low pyramidal cell spike rate may reflect a common mechanism used to control motor set during different types of grasp.