Sensory gating, inhibition control and gamma oscillations in the human somatosensory cortex

Chia Hsiung Cheng*, Pei Ying S. Chan, David M. Niddam, Shang Yueh Tsai, Shih Chieh Hsu, Chia Yih Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Inhibiting the responses to irrelevant stimuli is an essential component of human cognitive function. Pre-attentive auditory sensory gating (SG), an attenuated neural activation to the second identical stimulus, has been found to be related to the performance of higher-hierarchical brain function. However, it remains unclear whether other cortical regions, such as somatosensory cortex, also possess similar characteristics, or if such a relationship is modality-specific. This study used magnetoencephalography to record neuromagnetic responses to paired-pulse electrical stimulation to median nerve in 22 healthy participants. Somatosensory SG ratio and cortical brain oscillations were obtained and compared with the behavioral performance of inhibition control, as evaluated by somatosensory and auditory Go-Nogo tasks. The results showed that somatosensory P35m SG ratio correlated with behavioral performance of inhibition control. Such relationship was also established in relation to the auditory Go-Nogo task. Finally, a higher frequency value of evoked gamma oscillations was found to relate to a better somatosensory SG ability. In conclusion, our data provided an empirical link between automatic cortical inhibition and behavioral performance of attentive inhibition control. This study invites further research on the relationships among gamma oscillations, neurophysiological indices, and behavioral performance in clinical populations in terms of SG or cortical inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20437
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - 4 Feb 2016


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