Movement-Related Somatosensory Activity Is Altered in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

David J. Arpin, James E. Gehringer, Tony W. Wilson, Max J. Kurz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


During active movement the somatosensory cortical responses are often attenuated. This attenuation is referred to as movement-related sensory gating. It is well known that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have sensory processing deficits, and recent work has also suggested that these patients display impaired motor control of the ankle musculature. The primary goal of the current study was to: (1) examine the movement-related somatosensory gating in patients with MS and demographically-matched controls, and (2) identify the relationship between the sensory gating and motor control of the ankle musculature. To this end, we used magnetoencephalography brain imaging to assess the neural responses to a tibial nerve electrical stimulation that was applied at rest (passive) and during an ankle plantarflexion motor task (active condition). All participants also completed an ankle isometric motor control task that was performed outside the scanner. Our results indicated that the controls, but not patients with MS, exhibited significantly reduced somatosensory responses during the active relative to passive conditions, and that patients with MS had stronger responses compared with controls during the active condition. Additionally, control of the ankle musculature was related to the extent of movement-related sensory attenuation, with poor motor control being associated with reduced gating. Overall, these results show that patients with MS do not attenuate the somatosensory cortical activity during motor actions, and that the inability to modulate somatosensory cortical activity is partially related to the poor ankle motor control seen in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-707
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Topography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Ankle
  • Cortical
  • Lower extremity
  • Motor control
  • Sensory gating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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