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J Comp Neurol. 1996 Aug 5;371(4):649-76.

Movement representation in the dorsal and ventral premotor areas of owl monkeys: a microstimulation study.

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Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37240, USA.

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  • J Comp Neurol 1997 Jan 27;377(4):611.


We used intracortical microstimulation to investigate the lateral premotor cortex and neighboring areas in 14 hemispheres of owl monkeys, focusing on the somatotopic distribution of evoked movements, thresholds for forelimb movements, and the relative representation of proximal and distal forelimb movements. We elicited movements from the dorsal and ventral premotor areas (PMD, PMV), the caudal and rostral divisions of primary motor cortex (M1c, M1r), the frontal eye field (FEF), the dorsal oculomotor area (OMD; area 8b), the supplementary motor area (SMA), and somatosensory cortex (areas 3a and 3b). Area PMD was composed of architectonically distinguishable caudal and rostral subdivisions (PMDc, PMDr). Stimulation of PMD elicited movements of the hindlimb, forelimb, neck and upper trunk, face, and eyes. Hindlimb and forelimb movements were represented in the caudalmost part of PMDc. Face, neck, and eye movements were represented in the lateral and rostral parts of PMDc and in PMDr. Stimulation of PMV elicited forelimb and orofacial movements, but not hindlimb movements. Both proximal and distal forelimb movements were elicited from PMDc and PMV, although PMD stimulation elicited mainly shoulder and elbow movements, while PMV stimulation evoked primarily wrist and digit movements. Distal movements were evoked more frequently from PMV than from M1r or M1c. Across cases, the median forelimb thresholds for PMDc and PMV were 60 and 36 microA, respectively, values that differ significantly from each other and from the value of 11 microA obtained for M1r. Our observations indicate that premotor cortex is much more responsive to electrical stimulation than commonly thought, and contains a large territory from which eye movements can be elicited. These results suggest that in humans, much of the electrically excitable cortex located on the precentral gyrus, including cortex sometimes considered part of the frontal eye field, is probably homologous to the premotor cortex of nonhuman primates.

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