The frontal mechanisms of motor intention were studied in dorsal premotor and motor cortex of monkeys making direct reaches to visual targets and online corrections of hand trajectory, whenever a change of the target's location occurred. This study and our previous one of parietal cortex (Archambault et al., 2009) provide a picture on the evolution of motor intention and online control of movement in the parietofrontal system. In frontal cortex, significant relationships were found between neural activity and hand kinematics (position, speed, and movement direction). When a change of motor intention occurred, the activity typical of the movement to the first target smoothly evolved into that associated with the movement toward the second one, as observed during direct reaches. Under these conditions, parietal cells remained a more accurate predictor of hand trajectory than frontal ones. The time lags of neural activity with hand kinematics showed that motor, premotor, and parietal cortex were activated sequentially. After the first target's presentation and its change of location, the population activity signaled the change of motor plan before the hand moved to the initial target's position. This signaling occurred earlier in premotor than in motor and parietal cortex. Thus, premotor cortex encodes a higher-order command for the correction of motor intention, while parietal cortex seems responsible for estimating the kinematics of the motor periphery, an essential step to allow motor cortex to modify the hand trajectory. This indicates that the parietofrontal system can update an original and not-yet-accomplished motor plan during its execution.
Online control of hand trajectory and evolution of motor intention in the parietofrontal system / Archambault, Philippe; FERRARI TONIOLO, Simone; BATTAGLIA MAYER, Alessandra. - In: THE JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE. - ISSN 0270-6474. - STAMPA. - 31:2(2011), pp. 742-752. [10.1523/jneurosci.2623-10.2011]