Differentiation of receptive fields in the sensory cortex following stimulation of various nerves of the lower limb in humans: a magnetoencephalographic study

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✓ The authors investigated magnetoencephalography following stimulation of the posterior tibial (PT) and sural (SU) nerves at the ankle, the peroneal nerve (PE) at the knee, and the femoral nerve (FE) overlying the inguinal ligament in seven normal subjects (14 limbs) and confirmed its usefulness in clarifying the detailed differentiation of the receptive fields in the lower limb area of the primary sensory cortex in humans. The results were summarized as follows: 1) the equivalent current dipoles (ECDs) estimated by the magnetic fields following stimulation of the PT and SU were located very close to each other, along the interhemispheric fissure in all 14 limbs. They were directed horizontally to the hemisphere ipsilateral to the stimulated nerve. 2) The ECD following stimulation of the FE was clearly different from that seen in the other nerves, in terms of the location and/or direction, in all 14 limbs. The ECDs of 14 limbs were classified into two types according to the distance of ECD location between PT and FE; Type 1 (> 1 cm, nine limbs) and Type 2 (< 1 cm, five limbs). The ECD following FE stimulation was located on the crown of the postcentral gyrus or at the edge of the interhemispheric fissure in Type 1 and was close to the ECDs following PT and SU stimulation along the interhemispheric fissure in Type 2. 3) The ECD following PE stimulation was located along the interhemispheric fissure in all 14 limbs as for PT and SU. Its location was slightly but significantly higher than that of PT and SU in Type 1 and was close to ECDs following PT and SU stimulation in Type 2. The present findings indicated that approximately 65% (nine of 14) of the limbs showed the particular receptive fields compatible with the homunculus. Large inter- and the intraindividual (left—right) differences found in the present study indicated a significant anatomical variation in the area of the lower limb in the sensory cortex of humans.

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Address reprint requests to: Ryusuke Kakigi, M.D., Department of Integrative Physiology, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Myodaiji, Okazaki, 444, Japan.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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Figures

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    Chart showing somatosensory-evoked fields following stimulation of the posterior tibial and sural nerves at the ankle, peroneal nerve at the knee, and the femoral nerve overlying the inguinal ligament of the right lower limb in the first participant. Waveforms recorded at the 37 channels were superimposed. Four components of magnetic fields, 1M, 2M, 3M and 4M, were identified in each waveform. They were labeled in the waveform following posterior tibial nerve stimulation and were indicated by the arrows in the other waveforms. An asterisk indicates minor deflection that was identified in the waveform following stimulation of the posterior tibial and sural nerves.

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    Isocontour maps showing the first magnetic field (1M) following stimulation of the posterior tibial, sural, peroneal and femoral nerves of the right limb in the second participant. The contour step was 10, 5, 5, and 10 fT in waveforms of the posterior tibial, sural, peroneal, and femoral nerve stimulations, respectively. The dotted line and the thin line indicate the ingoing and outgoing flux, respectively, and the thick line indicates the zero-point line. The center of the map was around the vertex (Cz of the International 10–20 System). The magnetic field following the femoral nerve stimulation was very different from those of the other nerves stimulated. A = anterior; L = left; P = posterior; R = right.

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    Magnetic resonance images showing location and direction of equivalent current dipoles (ECDs) of the first magnetic field (1M) that overlapped on axial and coronal views following stimulation of the posterior tibial, sural, peroneal, and femoral nerves of the right limb in the second participant, based on Fig. 2. The ECD following the femoral nerve stimulation was located on the crown of the postcentral gyrus directed to the inferior and posterior sides. However, the ECDs following stimulation of the other nerves were located along the interhemispheric fissure directed to the right hemisphere. The ECDs of the other nerves were located very close together, but that following peroneal nerve stimulation was slightly higher than in the other two nerve stimulations. This type of receptive field was classified as Type 1. L = left; R = right.

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    Isocontour maps showing the first magnetic field (1M) following stimulation of the posterior tibial, sural, peroneal and femoral nerve of the left limb in the third participant. The contour step was 10, 5, 2, and 5 fT in waveforms of the posterior tibial, sural, peroneal, and femoral nerve stimulations, respectively. The dotted line and the thin line indicate the ingoing and outgoing flux, respectively, and the thick line indicates the zero-point line. The center of the map was around the vertex (Cz of the International 10–20 System). Magnetic fields following posterior tibial and sural nerve stimulation were similar. However, those following peroneal and femoral nerve stimulation were very different from those following stimulation of the posterior tibial and sural nerves. Notice the inverted magnetic fields between peroneal and femoral nerve stimulation. A = anterior; L = left; P = posterior; R = right.

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    Magnetic resonance images showing location and direction of equivalent current dipoles (ECDs) of the first magnetic field (1M) that overlapped on axial and coronal views following stimulation of the posterior tibial, sural, peroneal, and femoral nerves of the left limb in the third participant, based on Fig. 4. The ECDs following stimulation of each nerve were located close together, along the interhemispheric fissure. Those following stimulation of the posterior and sural nerve were directed to the right hemisphere horizontally, but that following stimulation of the peroneal and femoral nerves was directed anteriorly and posteriorly, respectively. This type of receptive field was classified as Type 2. L = left; R = right.

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