Visual spatial attention has opposite effects on bidirectional plasticity in the human motor cortex

Kamke, Marc R., Ryan, Alexander E., Sale, Martin V., Campbell, Megan E. J., Riek, Stephan, Carroll, Timothy J. and Mattingley, Jason B. (2014) Visual spatial attention has opposite effects on bidirectional plasticity in the human motor cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 34 4: 1475-1480. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1595-13.2014

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Author Kamke, Marc R.
Ryan, Alexander E.
Sale, Martin V.
Campbell, Megan E. J.
Riek, Stephan
Carroll, Timothy J.
Mattingley, Jason B.
Title Visual spatial attention has opposite effects on bidirectional plasticity in the human motor cortex
Journal name Journal of Neuroscience   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0270-6474
Publication date 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1595-13.2014
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 34
Issue 4
Start page 1475
End page 1480
Total pages 6
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher Society for Neuroscience
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Subject 2800 Neuroscience
Abstract Long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) are key mechanisms of synaptic plasticity that are thought to act in concert to shape neural connections. Here we investigated the influence of visual spatial attention on LTP-like and LTD-like plasticity in thehumanmotor cortex. Plasticity was induced using paired associative stimulation (PAS), which involves repeated pairing of peripheral nerve stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation to alter functional responses in the thumb area of the primary motor cortex. PAS-induced changes in cortical excitability were assessed using motor-evoked potentials. During plasticity induction, participants directed their attention to one of two visual stimulus streams located adjacent to each hand. When participants attended to visual stimuli located near the left thumb, which was targeted by PAS, LTP-like increases in excitability were significantly enhanced, and LTD-like decreases in excitability reduced, relative to when they attended instead to stimuli located near the right thumb. These differential effects on (bidirectional) LTP-like and LTD-like plasticity suggest that voluntary visual attention can exert an important influence on the functional organization of the motor cortex. Specifically, attention acts to both enhance the strengthening and suppress the weakening of neural connections representing events that fall within the focus of attention.
Keyword Long-term depression
Long-term potentiation
Paired associative stimulation
Spatial attention
Spike-timing-dependent plasticity
Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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