Parietal cortex and spatial-postural transformation during arm movements.
Rushworth MF., Johansen-Berg H., Young SA.
Cells in the parietal motor areas 5, MIP, and 7b have spatially tuned activity during movements. Lesions, however, do not disrupt visual reaching or learned nonspatial movement selection. The role of such parietal cells in sensorimotor coordinate transformations is unclear. The present experiment investigates whether the parietal motor areas are concerned with the following: 1) the transformation between the desired position in space of the hand and the limb's postural configuration during movement and 2) interjoint coordination. Six macaque monkeys were trained to reach in the dark. Spatial-postural transformations assume a simple form in the absence of vision and so may be most easily studied when animals reach in the dark. A lesion was placed in the parietal cortex that included areas 5, MIP, and 7b of three macaques. The simple relation between hand position and limb postural configuration seen in controls was disrupted after the lesion. The intercoordination of movements of the hand with those of the rest of the arm was also affected. The lesion did not affect the range or velocity of joint movements or the curvature of the hand's trajectory. The cell activity in parietal areas 5, MIP, and 7b may not be essential for the transformation between retinocentric representation of the target and shoulder centered representations of the desired position of the hand, but it is essential for both the subsequent transformation between desired hand position and the postural configuration of the arm and for interjoint integration.