Directionality of corticomuscular coupling in essential tremor and cortical myoclonic tremor

S. Sharifi*, F. Luft, S. Potgieter, T. Heida, W. Mugge, A.C. Schouten, L.J. Bour, A.F. van Rootselaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
104 Downloads (Pure)


A major role of the motor cortex in tremor generation in essential tremor (ET) is assumed, yet the directionality of corticomuscular coupling is unknown. Our aim is to clarify the role of the motor cortex. To this end we also study ‘familial cortical myoclonic tremor with epilepsy’ (FCMTE) and slow repetitive voluntary movements with a known cortical drive.

Directionality of corticomuscular coupling (EEG-EMG) was studied with renormalized partial directed coherence (rPDC) during tremor in 25 ET patients, 25 healthy controls (mimicked) and in seven FCMTE patients; and during a self-paced 2Hz task in eight ET patients and seven healthy controls.

Efferent coupling around tremor frequency was seen in 33% of ET patients, 45.5% of healthy controls, all FCMTE patients, and, around 2Hz, in all ET patients and all healthy controls. Ascending coupling, seen in the majority of all participants, was weaker in ET than in healthy controls around 5-6Hz.

Possible explanations are that tremor in ET results from faulty subcortical output bypassing the motor cortex; rate-dependent transmission similar to generation of rhythmic movements; and/or faulty feedforward mechanism resulting from decreased afferent (sensory) coupling.

A linear cortical drive is lacking in the majority of ET patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1878-1886
Number of pages9
JournalClinical neurophysiology
Issue number8
Early online date8 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Directionality of corticomuscular coupling in essential tremor and cortical myoclonic tremor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this