Predictive encoding of motor behavior in the supplementary motor area is disrupted in parkinsonism

Claudia M. Hendrix, Brett A. Campbell, Benjamin J. Tittle, Luke A. Johnson, Kenneth B. Baker, Matthew D. Johnson, Gregory F. Molnar, Jerrold L. Vitek

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11 Scopus citations


Many studies suggest that Par-kinson’s disease (PD) is associated with changes in neuronal activity patterns throughout the basal ganglia-thalamocortical motor circuit. There are limited electrophysiological data, however, describing how parkinsonism impacts the presupplementary motor area (pre-SMA) and SMA proper (SMAp), cortical areas known to be involved in movement planning and motor control. In this study, local field potentials (LFPs) were recorded in the pre-SMA/SMAp of a nonhuman primate during a visually cued reaching task. Recordings were made in the same subject in both the naive and parkinsonian state using the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine model of parkinsonism. We found that in the naive animal, well before a go-cue providing instruction of reach onset and direction was given, LFP activity was dynamically modulated in both high (20–30 Hz) and low beta (10–20 Hz) bands, and the magnitude of this modulation (e.g., decrease/increase in beta amplitude for each band, respectively) correlated linearly with reaction time (RT) on a trial-to-trial basis, suggesting it may predictively encode for RT. Consistent with this hypothesis, we observed that this activity was more prominent within the pre-SMA compared with SMAp. In the parkinsonian state, however, pre-SMA/SMAp beta band modulation was disrupted, particularly in the high beta band, such that the predictive encoding of RT was significantly diminished. In addition, the predictive encoding of RT preferentially within pre-SMA over SMAp was lost. These findings add to our understanding of the role of pre-SMA/SMAp in motor behavior and suggest a fundamental role of these cortical areas in early preparatory and premovement processes that are altered in parkinsonism. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Goal-directed movements, such as reaching for an object, necessitate temporal preparation and organization of information processing within the basal ganglia-thalamocortical motor network. Impaired movement in parkinsonism is thought to be the result of pathophysiological activity disrupting information flow within this network. This work provides neurophysiological evidence linking altered motor preplanning processes encoded in pre-SMA/ SMAp beta band modulation to the pathogenesis of motor disturbances in parkinsonism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1247-1255
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 5 2018

Bibliographical note

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© 2018 American Physiological Society. All rights reserved.


  • Beta oscillations
  • Local field potential
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Supplementary motor area


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