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Neuroimage. 2004 Dec;23(4):1494-506.

Human medial intraparietal cortex subserves visuomotor coordinate transformation.

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1
Institute of Medicine, Research Center Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany.

Abstract

In the macaque, the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) integrates multimodal sensory information for planning and coordinating complex movements. In particular, the areas around the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) serve as an interface between the sensory and motor systems to allow for coordinated movements in space. Because recent imaging studies suggest a comparable functional and anatomical organization of human and monkey IPS, we hypothesized that in humans, as in macaques, the medial intraparietal cortex (area MIP) subserves visuomotor transformations. To test this hypothesis, changes of neural activity were measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while healthy subjects performed a joystick paradigm similar to the ones previously employed in macaques for studying area MIP. As hypothesized, visuomotor coordinate transformation subserving goal-directed hand movements activated superior parietal cortex with the local maximum of increased neural activity lying in the medial wall of IPS. Compared to the respective visuomotor control conditions, goal-directed hand movements under predominantly proprioceptive control activated a more anterior part of medial IPS, whereas posterior medial IPS was more responsive to visually guided hand movements. Contrasting the two coordinate transformation conditions, changing the modality of movement guidance (visual/proprioceptive) did not significantly alter the BOLD signal within IPS but demonstrated differential recruitment of modality specific areas such as V5/MT and sensorimotor cortex/area 5, respectively. The data suggest that the human medial intraparietal cortex subserves visuomotor transformation processes to control goal-directed hand movements independently from the modality-specific processing of visual or proprioceptive information.

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