Motor Cortex - The Premotor Cortex

The Premotor Cortex

In the earliest work on the motor cortex, researchers recognized only one cortical field involved in motor control. Campbell was the first to suggest that there might be two fields, a “primary” motor cortex and an “intermediate precentral” motor cortex. His reasons were largely based on cytoarchitectonics, or the study of the appearance of the cortex under a microscope. The primary motor cortex contains cells with giant cell bodies known as “Betz cells”. These cells were mistakenly thought to be the main outputs from the cortex, sending fibers to the spinal cord. It has since been found that Betz cells account for about 2-3% of the projections from the cortex to the spinal cord, or about 10% of the projections from the primary motor cortex to the spinal cord. The specific function of the Betz cells that distinguishes them from other output cells of the motor cortex remains unknown, but they continue to be used as a marker for the primary motor cortex.

Other researchers, such as Vogt and Vogt and Foerster also suggested that motor cortex was divided into a primary motor cortex (area 4, according to Brodmann’s naming scheme) and a higher-order motor cortex (area 6 according to Brodmann).

Penfield notably disagreed and suggested that there was no functional distinction between area 4 and area 6. In his view both were part of the same map, though area 6 tended to emphasize the muscles of the back and neck. Woolsey who studied the motor map in monkeys also believed there was no distinction between primary motor and premotor. M1 was the name for the proposed single map that encompassed both the primary motor cortex and the premotor cortex. Although sometimes "M1" and "primary motor cortex" are used interchangeably, strictly speaking, they derive from different conceptions of motor cortex organization.

Despite the views of Penfield and Woolsey, a consensus emerged that area 4 and area 6 had sufficiently different functions that they could be considered different cortical fields. Fulton ] helped to solidify this distinction between a primary motor cortex in area 4 and a premotor cortex in area 6. As Fulton pointed out, and as all subsequent research has confirmed, both primary motor and premotor cortex project directly to the spinal cord and are capable of some direct control of movement. Fulton showed that when the primary motor cortex is damaged in an experimental animal, movement soon recovers; when the premotor cortex is damaged, movement soon recovers; when both are damaged, movement is lost and the animal cannot recover.

The premotor cortex is now generally divided into four sections. First it is divided into an upper (or dorsal) premotor cortex and a lower (or ventral) premotor cortex. Each of these is further divided into a region more toward the front of the brain (rostral premotor cortex) and a region more toward the back (caudal premotor cortex). A set of acronyms are commonly used: PMDr (premotor dorsal, rostral), PMDc, PMVr, PMVc. Some researchers use a different terminology. Field 7 or F7 denotes PMDr; F2 = PMDc; F5=PMVr; F4=PMVc.

PMDc is often studied with respect to its role in guiding reaching.

PMDr may participate in learning to associate arbitrary sensory stimuli with specific movements or learning arbitrary response rules.

PMVc or F4 is often studied with respect to its role in the sensory guidance of movement. Neurons here are responsive to tactile stimuli, visual stimuli, and auditory stimuli. These neurons are especially sensitive to objects in the space immediately surrounding the body, in so-called peripersonal space. Electrical stimulation of these neurons causes an apparent defensive movement as if protecting the body surface. This premotor region may be part of a larger circuit for maintaining a margin of safety around the body and guiding movement with respect to nearby objects.

PMVr or F5 is often studied with respect to its role in shaping the hand during grasping and in interactions between the hand and the mouth. Mirror neurons were first discovered in area F5 in the monkey brain by Rizzolatti and colleagues. These neurons are active when the monkey grasps an object. Yet the same neurons become active when the monkey watches an experimenter grasp an object in the same way. The neurons are therefore both sensory and motor. Mirror neurons are proposed to be a basis for understanding the actions of others by internally imitating the actions using one’s own motor control circuits.

Read more about this topic:  Motor Cortex

Other articles related to "the premotor cortex, cortex, premotor cortex, premotor":

Premotor Cortex - Anatomy and Structure
... The premotor cortex occupies the part of Brodmann area 6 that lies on the lateral surface of the cerebral hemisphere ... The premotor cortex can be distinguished from the primary motor cortex, Brodmann area 4, just posterior to it, based on two main anatomical markers ... First, the primary motor cortex contains giant pyramidal cells called Betz cells in layer V, whereas giant pyramidal cells are less common and smaller in the ...
Divisions of The Premotor Cortex
... The premotor cortex is now generally divided into four sections ... First it is divided into an upper (or dorsal) premotor cortex and a lower (or ventral) premotor cortex ... A set of acronyms are commonly used PMDr (premotor dorsal, rostral), PMDc (premotor dorsal, caudal), PMVr (premotor ventral, rostral), PMVc (premotor ventral, caudal) ...
Initial Studies of The Premotor Cortex and Doubts About Its Existence
... In the earliest work on the motor cortex, researchers recognized only one cortical field involved in motor control ... first to suggest that there might be two fields, a "primary" motor cortex and an "intermediate precentral" motor cortex ... The primary motor cortex contains cells with giant cell bodies known as "Betz cells" ...
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... The primary motor cortex receives terminating thalamocortical fibers from the VL nucleus of the thalamus ... pathway involved in the transference of cerebellar input to the primary motor cortex ... The VA projects widely across the inferior parietal and premotor cortex ...