Age-related differences in proprioceptive and visuo-proprioceptive function in relation to fine motor behaviour.
ABSTRACT: Leversen et al. (PLoS One 7(6):e38830, 2012) emphasise the importance of understanding the principles of life-long development. In their study of motor control, they found a common tendency towards improved motor performance from childhood to adulthood and a subsequent deterioration. The aim of our study was to examine this issue further by investigating fine motor behaviour (tracing a model line) in 196 participants (age range 12-95 years old) in two sensory conditions-proprioceptive + visual (PV) and proprioceptive only-in both hands and in two types of movement, frontal and transversal. Regression analyses of line length and task performance speed in relation to age were conducted for the different test conditions. The best performance was found in middle age, and a quadratic function provided the best fit for most of the test conditions. The corresponding inflection points (the age at which graphical analysis showed a change in performance as a peak of maturation before decline due to ageing) showed earlier ages in the proprioceptive condition. For most types of movement analysed, performance speed was slower under the PV condition. Paired correlation analysis showed that the symmetry of precision performance between hands became stronger with age. The results provide information on age-dependent differences in proprioception based on fine motor performance. They may be of use in the design of preventive strategies for preserving proprioceptive function by reducing the risk of falls and accidents or diseases such as Parkinson's.
Project description:It has been suggested that the brain controls hand movements via internal models that rely on visual and proprioceptive cues about the state of the hand. In active inference formulations of such models, the relative influence of each modality on action and perception is determined by how precise (reliable) it is expected to be. The 'top-down' affordance of expected precision to a particular sensory modality is associated with attention. Here, we asked whether increasing attention to (i.e., the precision of) vision or proprioception would enhance performance in a hand-target phase matching task, in which visual and proprioceptive cues about hand posture were incongruent. We show that in a simple simulated agent-based on predictive coding formulations of active inference-increasing the expected precision of vision or proprioception improved task performance (target matching with the seen or felt hand, respectively) under visuo-proprioceptive conflict. Moreover, we show that this formulation captured the behaviour and self-reported attentional allocation of human participants performing the same task in a virtual reality environment. Together, our results show that selective attention can balance the impact of (conflicting) visual and proprioceptive cues on action-rendering attention a key mechanism for a flexible body representation for action.
Project description:When reaching to an object, information about the target location as well as the initial hand position is required to program the motor plan for the arm. The initial hand position can be determined by proprioceptive information as well as visual information, if available. Bayes-optimal integration posits that we utilize all information available, with greater weighting on the sense that is more reliable, thus generally weighting visual information more than the usually less reliable proprioceptive information. The criterion by which information is weighted has not been explicitly investigated; it has been assumed that the weights are based on task- and effector-dependent sensory reliability requiring an explicit neuronal representation of variability. However, the weights could also be determined implicitly through learned modality-specific integration weights and not on effector-dependent reliability. While the former hypothesis predicts different proprioceptive weights for left and right hands, e.g., due to different reliabilities of dominant vs. nondominant hand proprioception, we would expect the same integration weights if the latter hypothesis was true. We found that the proprioceptive weights for the left and right hands were extremely consistent regardless of differences in sensory variability for the two hands as measured in two separate complementary tasks. Thus we propose that proprioceptive weights during reaching are learned across both hands, with high interindividual range but independent of each hand's specific proprioceptive variability. NEW & NOTEWORTHY How visual and proprioceptive information about the hand are integrated to plan a reaching movement is still debated. The goal of this study was to clarify how the weights assigned to vision and proprioception during multisensory integration are determined. We found evidence that the integration weights are modality specific rather than based on the sensory reliabilities of the effectors.
Project description:Background:Increasing attention is payed to the contribution of somatosensory processing in motor control. In particular, temporal somatosensory discrimination has been found to be altered differentially in common movement disorders. To date, there have only been speculations as to how impaired temporal discrimination and clinical motor signs may relate to each other. Prior to disentangling this relationship, potential confounders of temporal discrimination, in particular age and peripheral nerve conduction, should be assessed, and a quantifiable measure of proprioceptive performance should be established. Objective:To assess the influence of age and polyneuropathy (PNP) on somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold (STDT), temporal discrimination movement threshold (TDMT), and behavioral measures of proprioception of upper and lower limbs. Methods:STDT and TDMT were assessed in 79 subjects (54 healthy, 25 with PNP; age 30-79 years). STDT was tested with surface electrodes over the thenar or dorsal foot region. TDMT was probed with needle electrodes in flexor carpi radialis (FCR) and tibialis anterior (TA) muscle. Goniometer-based devices were used to assess limb proprioception during (i) active pointing to LED markers, (ii) active movements in response to variable visual cues, and (iii) estimation of limb position following passive movements. Pointing (or estimation) error was taken as a measure of proprioceptive performance. Results:In healthy subjects, higher age was associated with higher STDT and TDMT at upper and lower extremities, while age did not correlate with proprioceptive performance. Patients with PNP showed higher STDT and TDMT values and decreased proprioceptive performance in active pointing tasks compared to matched healthy subjects. As an additional finding, there was a significant correlation between performance in active pointing tasks and temporal discrimination thresholds. Conclusion:Given their notable impact on measures of temporal discrimination, age and peripheral nerve conduction need to be accounted for if STDT and TDMT are applied in patients with movement disorders. As a side observation, the correlation between measures of proprioception and temporal discrimination may prompt further studies on the presumptive link between these two domains.
Project description:In order to obtain further information on the pathophysiology of functional tremor, we assessed tactile discrimination threshold and proprioceptive temporal discrimination motor threshold values in 11 patients with functional tremor, 11 age- and sex-matched patients with essential tremor and 13 healthy controls.Tactile discrimination threshold in both the right and left side was significantly higher in patients with functional tremor than in the other groups. Proprioceptive temporal discrimination threshold for both right and left side was significantly higher in patients with functional and essential tremor than in healthy controls. No significant correlation between discrimination thresholds and duration or severity of tremor was found.Temporal processing of tactile and proprioceptive stimuli is impaired in patients with functional tremor. The mechanisms underlying this impaired somatosensory processing and possible ways to apply these findings clinically merit further research.
Project description:The cerebellum integrates proprioceptive, vestibular and visual signals for postural control. Cerebellar patients with downbeat nystagmus (DBN) complain of unsteadiness of stance and gait as well as blurred vision and oscillopsia.The aim of this study was to elucidate the differential role of visual input, gaze eccentricity, vestibular and proprioceptive input on the postural stability in a large cohort of cerebellar patients with DBN, in comparison to healthy age-matched control subjects.Oculomotor (nystagmus, smooth pursuit eye movements) and postural (postural sway speed) parameters were recorded and related to each other and volumetric changes of the cerebellum (voxel-based morphometry, SPM).Twenty-seven patients showed larger postural instability in all experimental conditions. Postural sway increased with nystagmus in the eyes closed condition but not with the eyes open. Romberg's ratio remained stable and was not different from healthy controls. Postural sway did not change with gaze position or graviceptive input. It increased with attenuated proprioceptive input and on tandem stance in both groups but Romberg's ratio also did not differ. Cerebellar atrophy (vermal lobule VI, VIII) correlated with the severity of impaired smooth pursuit eye movements of DBN patients.Postural ataxia of cerebellar patients with DBN cannot be explained by impaired visual feedback. Despite oscillopsia visual feedback control on cerebellar postural control seems to be preserved as postural sway was strongest on visual deprivation. The increase in postural ataxia is neither related to modulations of single components characterizing nystagmus nor to deprivation of single sensory (visual, proprioceptive) inputs usually stabilizing stance. Re-weighting of multisensory signals and/or inappropriate cerebellar motor commands might account for this postural ataxia.
Project description:Motor symptoms are defining traits in the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD). A crucial component in motor function is the integration of afferent proprioceptive sensory feedback. Previous studies have indicated abnormal movement-related cortical oscillatory activity in PD, but the role of the proprioceptive afference on abnormal oscillatory activity in PD has not been elucidated. We examine the cortical oscillations in the mu/beta-band (8-30?Hz) in the processing of proprioceptive stimulation in PD patients, ON/OFF levodopa medication, as compared to that of healthy controls (HC). We used a proprioceptive stimulator that generated precisely controlled passive movements of the index finger and measured the induced cortical oscillatory responses following the proprioceptive stimulation using magnetoencephalography. Both PD patients and HC showed a typical beta-band desynchronization during the passive movement. However, the subsequent beta rebound after the passive movement that was almost absent in PD patients compared to HC. Furthermore, we found no difference in the degree of beta rebound attenuation between patients ON and OFF levodopa medication. The results demonstrate a disease-related deterioration in cortical processing of proprioceptive afference in PD.
Project description:Neurons located in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) are crucial for transmitting peripheral sensations such as proprioception, touch, temperature, and nociception to the spinal cord before propagating these signals to higher brain structures. To date, difficulty in identifying modality-specific DRG neurons has limited our ability to study specific populations in detail. As the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV) is a neurochemical marker for proprioceptive DRG cells we used a transgenic mouse line expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) in PV positive DRGs, to study the functional and molecular properties of putative proprioceptive neurons. Immunolabeled DRGs showed a 100% overlap between GFP positive (GFP+) and PV positive cells, confirming the PVeGFP mouse accurately labeled PV neurons. Targeted patch-clamp recording from isolated GFP+ and GFP negative (GFP-) neurons showed the passive membrane properties of the two groups were similar, however, their active properties differed markedly. All GFP+ neurons fired a single spike in response to sustained current injection and their action potentials (APs) had faster rise times, lower thresholds and shorter half widths. A hyperpolarization-activated current (Ih) was observed in all GFP+ neurons but was infrequently noted in the GFP- population (100% vs. 11%). For GFP+ neurons, Ih activation rates varied markedly, suggesting differences in the underlying hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel (HCN) subunit expression responsible for the current kinetics. Furthermore, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) showed the HCN subunits 2, 1, and 4 mRNA (in that order) was more abundant in GFP+ neurons, while HCN 3 was more highly expressed in GFP- neurons. Likewise, immunolabeling confirmed HCN 1, 2, and 4 protein expression in GFP+ neurons. In summary, certain functional properties of GFP+ and GFP- cells differ markedly, providing evidence for modality-specific signaling between the two groups. However, the GFP+ DRG population demonstrates considerable internal heterogeneity when hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel (HCN channel) properties and subunit expression are considered. We propose this heterogeneity reflects the existence of different peripheral receptors such as tendon organs, muscle spindles or mechanoreceptors in the putative proprioceptive neuron population.
Project description:The present study examines whether non-active older adults are more dependent on visual information when executing aiming movements and whether age-related declines in proprioception play a mediating role herein. Young (N = 40) and older adults (N = 38) were divided into physically active and non-active subgroups based on self-reported sports participation levels. In experiment 1, participants executed wrist-aiming movements with and without visual feedback. In experiment 2, passive proprioceptive acuity was assessed using wrist motion detection and position matching tests. Results showed similar aiming accuracy across age groups both with and without visual feedback, but older adults exhibited longer movement times, prolonged homing-in phase, and made more corrective submovements. Passive proprioceptive acuity was significantly affected by physical activity level and age, with participants in the active group scoring better than their non-active peers. However, these declines did not predict performance changes on the aiming task. Taken together, our observations suggest that decline in proprioceptive acuity did not predict performance changes on the aiming task and older adults were able to compensate for their decreased motion and position sense when allowed sufficient time. In line with these observations, we proposed that older adults are able to compensate for their decline in proprioception by increasing their reliance on predictive models.
Project description:The diversity of premotor interneurons in the mammalian spinal cord is generated from a few phylogenetically conserved embryonic classes of interneurons (V0, V1, V2, V3). Their mechanisms of diversification remain unresolved, although these are clearly important to understand motor circuit assembly in the spinal cord. Some Ia inhibitory interneurons (IaINs) and all Renshaw cells (RCs) derive from embryonic V1 interneurons; however, in adult they display distinct functional properties and synaptic inputs, for example proprioceptive inputs preferentially target IaINs, while motor axons target RCs. Previously, we found that both inputs converge on RCs in neonates, raising the possibility that proprioceptive (VGLUT1-positive) and motor axon synapses (VAChT-positive) initially target several different V1 interneurons populations and then become selected or deselected postnatally. Alternatively, specific inputs might precisely connect only with predefined groups of V1 interneurons. To test these hypotheses we analyzed synaptic development on V1-derived IaINs and compared them to RCs of the same age and spinal cord levels. V1-interneurons were labeled using genetically encoded lineage markers in mice. The results show that although neonatal V1-derived IaINs and RCs are competent to receive proprioceptive synapses, these synapses preferentially target the proximal somato-dendritic regions of IaINs and postnatally proliferate on IaINs, but not on RCs. In contrast, cholinergic synapses on RCs are specifically derived from motor axons, while on IaINs they originate from Pitx2 V0c interneurons. Thus, motor, proprioceptive, and even some interneuron inputs are biased toward specific subtypes of V1-interneurons. Postnatal strengthening of these inputs is later superimposed on this initial preferential targeting.