Pathway-specific cortico-muscular coherence in proximal-to-distal compensation during fine motor control of finger extension after stroke

Sa Zhou, Ziqi Guo, Kiu Fung WONG, Hanlin Zhu, Yanhuan Huang, Xiaoling Hu, Yongping Zheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Proximal-to-distal compensation is commonly observed in the upper extremity (UE) after a stroke, mainly due to the impaired fine motor control in hand joints. However, little is known about its related neural reorganization. This study investigated the pathway-specific corticomuscular interaction in proximal-to-distal UE compensation during fine motor control of finger extension post-stroke by directed corticomuscular coherence (dCMC). Approach. We recruited 14 chronic stroke participants and 11 unimpaired controls. Electroencephalogram (EEG) from the sensorimotor area was concurrently recorded with electromyography (EMG) from extensor digitorum (ED), flexor digitorum (FD), triceps brachii (TRI) and biceps brachii (BIC) muscles in both sides of the stroke participants and in the dominant (right) side of the controls during the unilateral isometric finger extension at 20% maximal voluntary contractions. The dCMC was analyzed in descending (EEG → EMG) and ascending pathways (EMG → EEG) via the directed coherence. It was also analyzed in stable (segments with higher EMG stability) and less-stable periods (segments with lower EMG stability) subdivided from the whole movement period to investigate the fine motor control. Finally, the corticomuscular conduction time was estimated by dCMC phase delay. Main results. The affected limb had significantly lower descending dCMC in distal UE (ED and FD) than BIC (P < 0.05). It showed the descending dominance (significantly higher descending dCMC than the ascending, P < 0.05) in proximal UE (BIC and TRI) rather than the distal UE as in the controls. In the less-stable period, the affected limb had significantly lower EMG stability but higher ascending dCMC (P < 0.05) in distal UE than the controls. Furthermore, significantly prolonged descending conduction time (∼38.8 ms) was found in ED in the affected limb than the unaffected (∼26.94 ms) and control limbs (∼25.74 ms) (P < 0.05). Significance. The proximal-to-distal UE compensation in fine motor control post-stroke exhibited altered descending dominance from the distal to proximal UE, increased ascending feedbacks from the distal UE for fine motor control, and prolonged descending conduction time in the agonist muscle.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2021


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