Paired pulse depression in the somatosensory cortex: Associations between MEG and BOLD fMRI

C. M. Stevenson*, F. Wang, M. J. Brookes, J. M. Zumer, S. T. Francis, P. G. Morris

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Interpretation of the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) response measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) requires an understanding of the underlying neuronal activity. Here we report on a study using both magnetoencephalography (MEG) and BOLD fMRI, to measure the brain's functional response to electrical stimulation of the median nerve in a paired pulse paradigm. Interstimulus Intervals (ISIs) of 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0. s are used to investigate how the MEG detected neural response to a second pulse is affected by that from a preceding pulse and if these MEG modulations are reflected in the BOLD response. We focus on neural oscillatory activity in the β-band (13-30. Hz) and the P35m component of the signal averaged evoked response in the sensorimotor cortex. A spatial separation of β ERD and ERS following each pulse is demonstrated suggesting that these two effects arise from separate neural generators, with ERS exhibiting a closer spatial relationship with the BOLD response. The spatial distribution and extent of BOLD activity were unaffected by ISI, but modulations in peak amplitude and latency were observed. Non-linearities in both induced oscillatory activity ERS and in the signal averaged evoked response are found for ISIs of up to 2. s when the signal averaged evoked response has returned to baseline, with the P35m component displaying paired pulse depression effects. The β-band ERS magnitude was modulated by ISI, however the ERD magnitude was not. These results support the assumption that BOLD non-linearity arises not only from a non-linear vascular response to neural activity but also a non-linear neural response to the stimulus with ISI up to 2. s.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2722-2732
    Number of pages11
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Beta oscillatory activity
    • FMRI
    • MEG
    • Paired pulse

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