Interaction of finger representation in the human first somatosensory cortex: A neuromagnetic study

Katja Biermann, Frank Schmitz, Otto W. Witte, Jürgen Konczak, Hans Joachim Freund, Alfons Schnitzler

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66 Scopus citations


Neuromagnetic responses to separate tactile stimulation of digits I, II and V and simultaneous stimulation of digit pairs II and I, and II and V, were recorded in six healthy adult subjects using a 122-channel whole-head neuromagnetometer in order to investigate functional overlap of finger representations in primary somatosensory cortex (SI). Evoked responses to single digit stimulation were explained by time-varying equivalent current dipoles (ECDs) located in SI. These ECDs were then used to explain responses to stimulation of digit pairs. A cortical interaction ratio (IR) was defined as the vector sum of peak source amplitudes to separate stimulations of two fingers divided by the vector sum of source amplitudes to simultaneous stimulation of the two digits. Mean IR was significantly higher (P < 0.05; Wilcoxon test) for digit pair II + I (1.69 ± 0.15) compared to digit pair II + V (1.14 ± 0.12). These results indicate that there is an overlap of finger representations in human SI which differs between anatomically adjacent and non-adjacent digit pairs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-16
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 17 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Jens Volkmann for critical discussions during the course of this work. This study was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SFB 194.Z2).


  • Cortical interaction
  • Finger representation
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Somatosensory cortex
  • Source modelling
  • Tactile


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