Brain-heart communication: Evidence for "central pacemaker" oscillations with a dominant frequency at 0.1Hz in the cingulum.
Characteristically within the resting brain there are slow fluctuations (around 0.1Hz) of EEG and NIRS-(de)oxyhemoglobin ([deoxy-Hb], [oxy-Hb]) signals. An interesting question is whether such slow oscillations can be related to the intention to perform a motor act. To obtain an answer we analyzed continuous blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), prefrontal [oxy-Hb], [deoxy-Hb] and EEG signals over sensorimotor areas in 10 healthy subjects during 5min of rest and during 10min of voluntary finger movements. Analyses of prefrontal [oxy-Hb]/[deoxy-Hb] oscillations around 0.1Hz and central EEG band power changes in the beta (alpha) band revealed that the positive [oxy-Hb] peaks preceded the central EEG beta (alpha) power peak by 3.6±0.9s in the majority of subjects. A similar relationship between prefrontal [oxy-Hb] and central EEG beta power was found during voluntary movements whereby the post movement beta power increase (beta rebound) is known to coexist with a decreased excitability of cortico-spinal neurons. Therefore, we speculate that the beta power increase ∼3s after slow fluctuating [oxy-Hb] peaks during rest is indicative for a slow excitability change of central motor cortex neurons. This work provides the first evidence that initiation of finger movements at free will in relatively constant intervals around 10s could be temporally related to slow oscillations of prefrontal [oxy-Hb] and autonomic blood pressure in the resting brain.