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Prog Brain Res. 2004;143:507-11.

Functional specialization in dorsal and ventral premotor areas.

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Department of Physiology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.


The premotor cortex (PM) in the bilateral lateral hemisphere of nonhuman primates and the human has been implicated in the sensorial guidance of movements. This is in contrast to more medial motor areas that are involved more in the temporal structuring of movements based on memorized information. The PM is further subdivided into dorsal (PMd) and ventral (PMv) parts. In this chapter, we describe our attempts to find differences in the use of these two areas in a nonhuman primate for programming future motor actions based on visual signals. We show that neurons in the PMv are involved primarily in receiving visuospatial signals and in specifying the spatial location of the target to be reached. In contrast, neurons in the PMd are involved more in integrating information about which arm to use and the target to be reached. Thus, PMd neurons are more implicated than those of the PMv in the preparation for a future motor action.

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