Encoding of direction of fingertip forces by human tactile afferents
2001 (English)In: Journal of Neuroscience, ISSN 0270-6474, E-ISSN 1529-2401, Vol. 21, no 20, 8222-8237 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In most manipulations, we use our fingertips to apply time-varying forces to the target object in controlled directions. Here we used microneurography to assess how single tactile afferents encode the direction of fingertip forces at magnitudes, rates, and directions comparable to those arising in everyday manipulations. Using a flat stimulus surface, we applied forces to a standard site on the fingertip while recording impulse activity in 196 tactile afferents with receptive fields distributed over the entire terminal phalanx. Forces were applied in one of five directions: normal force and forces at a 20 degrees angle from the normal in the radial, distal, ulnar, or proximal directions. Nearly all afferents responded, and the responses in most slowly adapting (SA)-I, SA-II, and fast adapting (FA)-I afferents were broadly tuned to a preferred direction of force. Among afferents of each type, the preferred directions were distributed in all angular directions with reference to the stimulation site, but not uniformly. The SA-I population was biased for tangential force components in the distal direction, the SA-II population was biased in the proximal direction, and the FA-I population was biased in the proximal and radial directions. Anisotropic mechanical properties of the fingertip and the spatial relationship between the receptive field center of the afferent and the stimulus site appeared to influence the preferred direction in a manner dependent on afferent type. We conclude that tactile afferents from the whole terminal phalanx potentially contribute to the encoding of direction of fingertip forces similar to those that occur when subjects manipulate objects under natural conditions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Society for Neuroscience , 2001. Vol. 21, no 20, 8222-8237 p.
microneurography, human hand, cutaneous mechanoreceptors, fingertip force, directional sensitivity, tactile afferents
Physiology Neurology Neurosciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-82526ISI: 000171442000042PubMedID: 11588194OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-82526DiVA: diva2:661799