Macaque Ventral Premotor Cortex Exerts Powerful Facilitation of Motor Cortex Outputs to Upper Limb Motoneurons

H. Shimazu, M. A. Maier, G. Cerri, P. A. Kirkwood, Roger N. Lemon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ventral premotor area (F5) is part of the cortical circuit controlling visuomotor grasp. F5 could influence hand motor function through at least two pathways: corticospinal projections and corticocortical projections to primary motor cortex (MI). We found that stimulation of macaque F5, which by itself evoked little or no detectable corticospinal output, could produce a robust modulation of motor outputs from M1. Arrays of fine microwires were implanted in F5 and M1. During terminal experiments under chloralose anesthesia, single stimuli delivered to M1 electrodes evoked direct (D) and indirect (I 1, I2, and I3) corticospinal volleys. In contrast, single F5 shocks were ineffective; double shocks (3 msec separation) evoked small I waves but no D wave. However, when the test (T) M1 shock was conditioned (C) by single or double F5 shocks, there was strong facilitation of I2 and I3 waves from M1, with C-T intervals of >1 msec. Intracellular recordings from 79 arm and hand motoneurons (MNs) revealed no postsynaptic effects from single F5 shocks. In contrast, these stimuli produced a robust facilitation of I2 and I3 EPSPs evoked from M1 (60% of MNs); this was particularly marked in hand muscle MNs (92%). Muscimol injection in M1 reduced I waves from F5 and abolished the F5-induced facilitation of late I waves from M1, and of EPSPs associated with them. Thus, some motor effects evoked from F5 may be mediated by corticocortical inputs to M1 impinging on interneurons generating late corticospinal I waves. Similar mechanisms may allow F5 to modulate grasp-related outputs from M1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1200-1211
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Feb 4 2004


  • Corticospinal
  • Monkey
  • Motor cortex
  • Movement (motion; motor activity)
  • Premotor
  • Stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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