Functionally specific reorganization in human premotor cortex.
O'Shea J., Johansen-Berg H., Trief D., Göbel S., Rushworth MF.
After unilateral stroke, the dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) in the intact hemisphere is often more active during movement of an affected limb. Whether this contributes to motor recovery is unclear. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to investigate short-term reorganization in right PMd after transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) disrupted the dominant left PMd, which is specialized for action selection. Even when 1 Hz left PMd TMS had no effect on behavior, there was a compensatory increase in activity in right PMd and connected medial premotor areas. This activity was specific to task periods of action selection as opposed to action execution. Compensatory activation changes were both functionally specific and anatomically specific: the same pattern was not seen after TMS of left sensorimotor cortex. Subsequent TMS of the reorganized right PMd did disrupt performance. Thus, this pattern of functional reorganization has a causal role in preserving behavior after neuronal challenge.