The desynchronization of alpha and beta oscillations (mu rhythm) in the central scalp EEG during action observation and action execution is thought to reflect neural mirroring processes. However, the extent to which mirror neurons (MNs) or other populations of neurons contribute to such EEG desynchronization is still unknown. Here, we provide the first evidence that, in the monkey, the neuronal activity recorded from the ventral premotor cortex (PMv) strongly contributes to the EEG changes occurring in the beta band over central scalp electrodes, during executed and observed actions. We simultaneously recorded scalp EEG and extracellular activity, Multi Unit Activity (MUA) and Local Field Potentials (LFP), from area F5 of two macaques executing and observing grasping actions. We found that MUA highly correlates with an increase in high gamma LFP power and, interestingly, such LFP power increase also correlates to EEG beta – and in part also to alpha – desynchronization. In terms of timing of signal changes, the increase in high gamma LFP power precedes the EEG desynchronization, during both action observation and execution, thus suggesting a causal role of PMv neuronal activity in the modulation of the alpha and beta mu-rhythm. Lastly, neuronal signals from deeper layers of PMv exert a greater contribution than superficial layers to the EEG beta rhythm modulation, especially during the motor task. Our findings have clear implications for EEG studies in that they demonstrate that the activity of different populations of neurons in PMv contribute to the generation of the mu-rhythm.
Simultaneous scalp recorded EEG and local field potentials from monkey ventral premotor cortex during action observation and execution reveals the contribution of mirror and motor neurons to the mu-rhythm / Bimbi, M.; Festante, F.; Coude, G.; Vanderwert, R. E.; Fox, N. A.; Ferrari, P. F.. - In: NEUROIMAGE. - ISSN 1053-8119. - 175(2018), pp. 22-31. [10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.03.037]
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