Milh M - Kaminska A - Huon C - Lapillonne A - Ben-Ari Y - Khazipov R
Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
Delta-brush is the dominant pattern of rapid oscillatory activity (8-25 Hz) in the human cortex during the third trimester of gestation. Here, we studied the relationship between delta-brushes in the somatosensory cortex and spontaneous movements of premature human neonates of 29-31 weeks postconceptional age using a combination of scalp electroencephalography and monitoring of motor activity. We found that sporadic hand and foot movements heralded the appearance of delta-brushes in the corresponding areas of the cortex (lateral and medial regions of the contralateral central cortex, respectively). Direct hand and foot stimulation also reliably evoked delta-brushes in the same areas. These results suggest that sensory feedback from spontaneous fetal movements triggers delta-brush oscillations in the central cortex in a somatotopic manner. We propose that in the human fetus in utero, before the brain starts to receive elaborated sensory input from the external world, spontaneous fetal movements provide sensory stimulation and drive delta-brush oscillations in the developing somatosensory cortex contributing to the formation of cortical body maps.