Hemodynamic changes in cortical sensorimotor systems following hand and orofacial motor tasks and pulsed pneumotactile stimulation

Austin O. Rosner, Steven M. Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We performed a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) study of the evoked hemodynamic responses seen in hand and face sensorimotor cortical representations during (1) active motor tasks and (2) pulsed pneumotactile stimulation. Contralateral fNIRS measurements were performed on 22 healthy adult participants using a block paradigm that consisted of repetitive right hand and right oral angle somatosensory stimulation using a pulsed pneumotactile array stimulator, and repetitive right-hand grip compression and bilabial compressions on strain gages. Results revealed significant oxyhemoglobin (HbO) modulation across stimulus conditions in corresponding somatotopic cortical regions. Of the 22 participants, 86% exhibited a decreased HbO response during at least one of the stimulus conditions, which may be indicative of cortical steal, or hypo-oxygenation occurring in channels adjacent to the primary areas of activation. Across all conditions, 56% of participants’ HbO responses were positive and 44% were negative. Hemodynamic responses most likely differed across hand and face motor and somatosensory cortical regions due to differences in regional arterial/venous anatomy, cortical vascular beds, extent and orientation of somatotopy, task dynamics, and mechanoreceptor typing in hand and face. The combination of optical imaging and task conditions allowed for non-invasive examination of hemodynamic changes in somatosensory and motor cortices using natural, pneumatic stimulation of glabrous hand and hairy skin of the lower face and functionally relevant and measurable motor tasks involving the same structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-155
Number of pages11
JournalSomatosensory and Motor Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • NIRS
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • functional activation
  • hemodynamic response
  • motor cortex
  • somatosensory cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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