Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 234, Issue 9, pp 2433–2446 | Cite as

The neural mechanisms of re-experiencing physical fatigue sensation: a magnetoencephalography study

  • Akira Ishii
  • Masaaki Tanaka
  • Yasuyoshi Watanabe
Research Article


It has been hypothesized that fatigue sensation impairs the ability and efficiency to perform activities and can be a cause of fatigue itself. As such, it is important to clarify the neural mechanisms of fatigue sensation. The re-experiencing of mental fatigue sensation involves brain regions including Brodmann’s area (BA) 40, BA 39, and the pulvinar nucleus. In the present study, we examined neural activity caused by re-experiencing a physical fatigue sensation that had been experienced. Fifteen healthy male volunteers participated in fatigue and control experiments in a crossover fashion. In the fatigue experiment, participants performed a handgrip task for 10 min to induce a physical fatigue sensation and then re-experienced the physical fatigue sensation during magnetoencephalography (MEG) session. In the control experiment, they did not perform the handgrip task but re-experienced the sensation without physical fatigue in an MEG session. Neural activity related to re-experiencing physical fatigue sensations of the right hand (right condition), left hand (left condition), and related to listening to the auditory cues (sound condition) was assessed using spatial filtering analyses of the MEG data. Changes in oscillatory band power in some brain regions, including BA 40, were common between the right and left conditions. A part of the neural activity related to the re-experiencing physical fatigue sensation, such as the decrease in alpha (8–13 Hz) band power in the BA 40, was also observed in the sound condition. These findings may help to understand the neural mechanisms related to intentionally and unintentionally re-experiencing physical fatigue sensation.


Fatigue Physical fatigue sensation Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Re-experiencing 



We thank Forte Science Communications for editorial help with the manuscript and Manryoukai Imaging Clinic for MRI scans. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant No. 25750351 and 15H02502. This work was also supported by the Uehara Memorial Foundation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akira Ishii
    • 1
  • Masaaki Tanaka
    • 1
  • Yasuyoshi Watanabe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyOsaka City University Graduate School of MedicineOsaka CityJapan
  2. 2.Center for Life Science TechnologiesRIKENKobe CityJapan

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