Blockade of the scalp electroencephalographic (EEG) sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) is a well-known phenomenon following attempted or executed motor functions. Such a frequency-specific power attenuation of the SMR occurs in the alpha and beta frequency bands and is spatially registered at primary somatosensory and motor cortices. Here, we hypothesized that resting-state fluctuations of the SMR in the alpha and beta frequency bands also covary with resting-state sensorimotor cortical activity, without involving task-related neural dynamics. The present study employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural regions whose activities were correlated with the simultaneously recorded SMR power fluctuations. The SMR power fluctuations were convolved with a canonical hemodynamic response function and correlated with blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signals obtained from the entire brain. Our findings show that the alpha and beta power components of the SMR correlate with activities of the pericentral area. Furthermore, brain regions with correlations between BOLD signals and the alpha-band SMR fluctuations were located posterior to those with correlations between BOLD signals and the beta-band SMR. These results are consistent with those of event-related studies of SMR modulation induced by sensory input or motor output. Our findings may help to understand the role of the sensorimotor cortex activity in contributing to the amplitude modulation of SMR during the resting state. This knowledge may be applied to the diagnosis of pathological conditions in the pericentral areas or the refinement of brain–computer interfaces using SMR in the future.
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