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Brain Res. 1986 Mar;396(1):77-96.

The organization of the rat motor cortex: a microstimulation mapping study.


In conclusion, the rat primary motor cortex appears to be organized into irregularly shaped patches of cortex devoted to particular movements. The location of major subdivisions such as the forelimb or hindlimb areas is somatotopic and is consistent from animal to animal, but the internal organization of the pattern of movements represented within major subdivisions varies significantly between animals. The motor cortex includes both agranular primary motor cortex (AgL) and, in addition, a significant amount of the bordering granular somatic sensory cortex (Gr(SI)), as well as the rostral portion of the taste sensory insular or claustrocortex (Cl). The rat frontal cortex also contains a second, rostral motor representation of the forelimb, trunk and hindlimb, which is somatotopically organized and may be the rat's supplementary motor area. Both of these motor representations give rise to direct corticospinal projections, some of which may make monosynaptic connections with cervical enlargement motoneurons. Medial to the primary motor cortex, in cytoarchitectonic field AgM, is what appears to be part of the rat's frontal eye fields, a region which also includes the vibrissae motor representation. The somatic motor cortical output organization pattern in the rat is remarkably similar to that seen in the primate, whose primary, supplementary and frontal eye field cortical motor regions have been extensively studied.

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