Central mechanisms of finger interaction during one- and two-hand force production at distal and proximal phalanges

Mark L. Latash, Sheng Li, Frederic Danion, Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky

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In this study we used changes in the relative involvement of different muscle groups during force production at the distal (DT) and proximal (PR) phalanges to test and modify a hypothesis on the central organization of multi-finger control for tasks involving non-homologous elements in the two hands. Ten subjects produced maximal force with different finger combinations. Two symmetrical (PR/PR and DT/DT) and two asymmetrical (PR/DT and DT/PR) combinations of force application sites in the two hands were used. During one-hand tasks, higher forces were produced at the PR site. In multi-finger tasks, total peak force was smaller than the sum of peak forces in single-finger tasks by the involved fingers (force deficit). Force production by some fingers of a hand was accompanied by involuntary force production by other fingers (enslaving). Force deficit and enslaving were both higher at the PR site. Two-hand tasks were accompanied by an additional drop in the force of individual fingers, i.e., bilateral deficit (BD). When symmetrical sites of force production were used in the two hands, BD was lower for symmetrical finger groups than for asymmetrical groups. During tests at asymmetrical sites, BD was higher and did not depend on symmetry of involved finger groups. We conclude that within-a-hand force deficit and enslaving are likely to be of a central, neural origin. An earlier introduced hypothesis has been expanded assuming that excitatory projections to contralateral finger representations exist only for homologous elements (sub-synergies) of a multi-finger force production synergy, while only inhibitory projections connect non-homologous elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-208
Number of pages11
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 11 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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