The role of interhemispheric communication during complete and partial cancellation of bimanual responses.


MacDonald HJ(1), Laksanaphuk C(2), Day A(1), Byblow WD(3), Jenkinson N(1).
Author information:
(1)School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, Centre for Human Brain Health, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
(2)Faculty of Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, Rangsit University, Pathumthani, Thailand.
(3)Department of Exercise Sciences, Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


Precise control of upper limb movements in response to external stimuli is vital to effectively interact with the environment. Accurate execution of bimanual movement is known to rely on finely orchestrated interhemispheric communication between the primary motor cortices (M1s). However, relatively little is known about the role of interhemispheric communication during sudden cancellation of prepared bimanual movement. The current study investigated the role of interhemispheric interactions during complete and partial cancellation of bimanual movement. In two experiments, healthy young human participants received transcranial magnetic stimulation to both M1s during a bimanual response inhibition task. The increased corticomotor excitability in anticipation of bimanual movement was accompanied by a release of inhibition from both M1s. After a stop cue, inhibition was reengaged onto both hemispheres to successfully cancel the complete bimanual response. However, when the stop cue signaled partial cancellation (stopping of one digit only), inhibition was reengaged with regard to the cancelled digit, but the responding digit representation was facilitated. This bifurcation in interhemispheric communication between M1s occurred 75 ms later in the more difficult condition when the nondominant, as opposed to dominant, hand was still responding. Our results demonstrate that interhemispheric communication is integral to response inhibition once a bimanual response has been prepared. Interestingly, M1-M1 interhemispheric circuitry does not appear to be responsible for the nonselective suppression of all movement components that has been observed during partial cancellation. Instead such interhemispheric communication enables uncoupling of bimanual response components and facilitates the selective initiation of just the required unimanual movement.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We provide the first evidence that interhemispheric communication plays an important role during sudden movement cancellation of two-handed responses. Simultaneously increased inhibition onto both hemispheres assists with two-handed movement cancellation. However, this network is not responsible for the widespread suppression of motor activity observed when only one of the two hands is cancelled. Instead, communication between hemispheres enables the separation of motor activity for the two hands and helps to execute the required one-handed response.