Cutaneous stimulation of the digits and lips evokes responses with different adaptation patterns in primary somatosensory cortex

Mihai Popescu, Steven Barlow, Elena Anda Popescu, Meredith E. Estep, Lalit Venkatesan, Edward T. Auer, William M. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Neuromagnetic evoked fields were recorded to compare the adaptation of the primary somatosensory cortex (SI) response to tactile stimuli delivered to the glabrous skin at the fingertips of the first three digits (condition 1) and between midline upper and lower lips (condition 2). The stimulation paradigm allowed to characterize the response adaptation in the presence of functional integration of tactile stimuli from adjacent skin areas in each condition. At each stimulation site, cutaneous stimuli (50. ms duration) were delivered in three runs, using trains of 6 pulses with regular stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA). The pulses were separated by SOAs of 500. ms, 250. ms or 125. ms in each run, respectively, while the inter-train interval was fixed (5. s) across runs. The evoked activity in SI (contralateral to the stimulated hand, and bilaterally for lips stimulation) was characterized from the best-fit dipoles of the response component peaking around 70. ms for the hand stimulation, and 8. ms earlier (on average) for the lips stimulation. The SOA-dependent long-term adaptation effects were assessed from the change in the amplitude of the responses to the first stimulus in each train. The short-term adaptation was characterized by the lifetime of an exponentially saturating model function fitted to the set of suppression ratios of the second relative to the first SI response in each train. Our results indicate: 1) the presence of a rate-dependent long-term adaptation effect induced only by the tactile stimulation of the digits; and 2) shorter recovery lifetimes for the digits compared with the lips stimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1486
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Somatosensory evoked fields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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