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1.  Interhemispheric Connections of the Ventral Premotor Cortex in a New World Primate 
This study describes the pattern of interhemispheric connections of the ventral premotor cortex (PMv) distal forelimb representation (DFL) in squirrel monkeys. Our objectives were to describe qualitatively and quantitatively the connections of PMv with contralateral cortical areas. Intracortical microstimulation techniques (ICMS) guided the injection of the neuronal tract tracers biotinylated dextran amine or Fast blue into PMv DFL. We classified the interhemispheric connections of PMv into three groups. Major connections were found in the contralateral PMv and supplementary motor area (SMA). Intermediate interhemispheric connections were found in the rostral portion of the primary motor cortex, the frontal area immediately rostral and ventral to PMv (FR), cingulate motor areas (CMAs), and dorsal premotor cortex (PMd). Minor connections were found inconsistently across cases in the anterior operculum (AO), posterior operculum/inferior parietal cortex (PO/IP), and posterior parietal cortex (PP), areas that consistently show connections with PMv in the ipsilateral hemisphere. Within-case comparisons revealed that the percentage of PMv connections with contralateral SMA and PMd are higher than the percentage of PMv connections with these areas in the ipsilateral hemisphere; percentages of PMv connections with contralateral M1 rostral, FR, AO, and the primary somatosensory cortex are lower than percentages of PMv connections with these areas in the ipsilateral hemisphere. These studies increase our knowledge of the pattern of interhemispheric connection of PMv. They help to provide an anatomical foundation for understanding PMv’s role in motor control of the hand and interhemispheric interactions that may underlie the coordination of bimanual movements.
PMCID: PMC3266721  PMID: 17948893
connections; contralateral; interhemispheric; monkey; neuroanatomy; premotor cortex
2.  Shaping plasticity to enhance recovery after injury 
Progress in brain research  2011;192:273-295.
The past decade of neuroscience research has provided considerable evidence that the adult brain can undergo substantial reorganization following injury. For example, following an ischemic lesion, such as occurs following a stroke, there is a cascade of molecular, genetic, physiological and anatomical events that allows the remaining structures in the brain to reorganize. Often, these events are associated with recovery, suggesting that they contribute to it. Indeed, the term plasticity in stroke research has had a positive connotation historically. But more recently, efforts have been made to differentiate beneficial from detrimental changes. These notions are timely now that neurorehabilitative research is developing novel treatments to modulate, increase, or inhibit plasticity in targeted brain regions. We will review basic principles of plasticity and some of the new and exciting approaches that are currently being investigated to shape plasticity following injury in the central nervous system.
PMCID: PMC3245976  PMID: 21763529
Cortex; Stimulation; Plasticity; Recovery; Rehabilitation; Stroke
3.  VEGF protein associates to neurons in remote regions following cortical infarct 
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is thought to contribute to both neuroprotection and angiogenesis after stroke. While increased expression of VEGF has been demonstrated in animal models after experimental ischemia, these studies have focused almost exclusively on the infarct and peri-infarct regions. The present study investigated the association of VEGF to neurons in remote cortical areas at three days after an infarct in primary motor cortex (M1). Although these remote areas are outside of the direct influence of the ischemic injury, remote plasticity has been implicated in recovery of function. For this study, intracortical microstimulation techniques identified primary and premotor cortical areas in a non-human primate. A focal ischemic infarct was induced in the M1 hand representation, and neurons and VEGF protein were identified using immunohistochemical procedures. Stereological techniques quantitatively assessed neuronal-VEGF association in the infarct and peri-infarct regions, M1 hindlimb, M1 orofacial, and ventral premotor hand representations, as well as non-motor control regions. The results indicate that VEGF protein significantly increased association to neurons in specific remote cortical areas outside of the infarct and peri-infarct regions. The increased association of VEGF to neurons was restricted to cortical areas that are functionally and/or behaviorally related to the area of infarct. There was no significant increase in M1 orofacial region or in non-motor control regions. We hypothesize that enhancement of neuronal VEGF in these functionally related remote cortical areas may be involved in recovery of function after stroke, through either neuroprotection or the induction of remote angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3245973  PMID: 16639424
VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor); neuron; stroke; focal cerebral ischemia; stereology; neuroprotection
4.  Neuronal HIF-1α protein and VEGFR-2 immunoreactivity in functionally related motor areas following a focal M1 infarct 
Clinical and experimental data support a role for the intact cortex in recovery of function after stroke, particularly ipsilesional areas interconnected to the infarct. There is, however, little understanding of molecular events in the intact cortex, as most studies focus on the infarct and peri-infarct regions. This study investigated neuronal immunoreactivity for hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) in remote cortical areas 3 days after a focal ischemic infarct, as both HIF-1α and VEGFR-2 have been implicated in peri-infarct neuroprotection. For this study, intracortical microstimulation techniques defined primary motor (M1) and premotor areas in squirrel monkeys (genus Saimiri). An infarct was induced in the M1 hand representation, and immunohistochemical techniques identified neurons, HIF-1α and VEGFR-2. Stereologic techniques quantified the total neuronal populations and the neurons immunoreactive for HIF-1α or VEGFR-2. The results indicate that HIF-1α upregulation is confined to the infarct and peri-infarct regions. Increases in VEGFR-2 immunoreactivity occurred; however, in two remote regions: the ventral premotor hand representation and the M1 hindlimb representation. Neurons in these representations were previously shown to undergo significant increases in VEGF protein immunoreactivity, and comparison of the two data sets showed a significant correlation between levels of VEGF and VEGFR-2 immunoreactivity. Thus, while remote areas undergo a molecular response to the infarct, we hypothesize that there is a delay in the initiation of the response, which ultimately may increase the ‘window of opportunity’ for neuroprotective interventions in the intact cortex.
PMCID: PMC3232012  PMID: 17895908
VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor); VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2); HIF-1α (hypoxia inducible factor-1α); stroke; neuron; stereology
5.  A stretch reflex in extraocular muscles of species purportedly lacking muscle spindles 
It is generally assumed that proprioceptive feedback plays a crucial role in limb posture and movement. However, the role of afferent signals from extraocular muscles (EOM) in the control of eye movement has been a matter of continuous debate. These muscles have atypical sensory receptors in several species and it has been proposed that they are not supported by stretch reXexes. We recorded electromyographic activity of EOM during passive rotations of the eye in sedated rats and squirrel monkeys and observed typical stretch reXexes in these muscles. Results suggest that there is a similarity in the reXexive control of limb and eye movement, despite substantial differences in their biomechanics and sensory receptors. Like in some limb skeletal muscles, the stretch reflex in EOM in the investigated species might be mediated by other length-sensitive receptors, rather than muscle spindles.
PMCID: PMC3230225  PMID: 17216145
Motor control; Sensorimotor integration; Eye movement; Proprioception; Electromyogram
6.  The impact of head direction on lateralized choices of target and hand 
We examined choices made by monkeys performing a task in which two food-well targets were positioned on either side of the monkey, and LEDs provided instructions on hand use and food target availability. We have previously reported that when gaze and head direction were unrestricted, lateralized choices were biased primarily by hand preference and secondarily by a preference to retrieve a target ipsilateral to the preferred hand. Here, we used a similar behavioral paradigm, but now during trial instructions the monkeys were required to maintain head direction aimed toward a left, a center, or a right fixation LED. When a lateralized head direction was required during presentation of the instructional cues, monkeys were more likely to choose the hand and target ipsilateral to the head direction. Lateralized head direction more strongly biased the monkeys’ choice of hand than their choice of target, but hand preference produced even stronger bias on target choices than did head direction. Although target cues were presented before hand cues, our data indicate that target and hand choices were made interactively. We also found that the monkeys’ choices were better correlated with their success rate for particular combinations of hand and target than with movement times.
PMCID: PMC2840061  PMID: 20012538
Bias; Choice; Head; Preference; Reach; Target
7.  Corticospinal Neurons in Macaque Ventral Premotor Cortex with Mirror Properties: A Potential Mechanism for Action Suppression? 
Neuron  2009;64(6):922-930.
The discovery of “mirror neurons” in area F5 of the ventral premotor cortex has prompted many theories as to their possible function. However, the identity of mirror neurons remains unknown. Here, we investigated whether identified pyramidal tract neurons (PTNs) in area F5 of two adult macaques exhibited “mirror-like” activity. About half of the 64 PTNs tested showed significant modulation of their activity while monkeys observed precision grip of an object carried out by an experimenter, with somewhat fewer showing modulation during precision grip without an object or grasping concealed from the monkey. Therefore, mirror-like activity can be transmitted directly to the spinal cord via PTNs. A novel finding is that many PTNs (17/64) showed complete suppression of discharge during action observation, while firing actively when the monkey grasped food rewards. We speculate that this suppression of PTN discharge might be involved in the inhibition of self-movement during action observation.
PMCID: PMC2862290  PMID: 20064397
8.  Effects of a Rostral Motor Cortex Lesion on Primary Motor Cortex Hand Representation Topography in Primates 
Small lesions to rostral versus caudal portions of the hand representation in the primary motor cortex (M1) produce different behavioral deficits. The goal of the present study was to determine if rehabilitative training has similar effects on functional topography of the spared M1 after rostral versus previously reported caudal M1 lesions.
Following a lesion to the rostral M1 hand area, monkeys were trained for 1 h/day for 30 days to retrieve food pellets from small wells using their impaired hand. Electrophysiological maps of the M1 were derived in anesthetized monkeys before infarct and after rehabilitative training using intracortical microstimulation.
After a lesion to the rostral M1 and rehabilitative training, the size of the spared hand representation decreased 1.2%. This change is not statistically different from the 9% increase seen after caudal M1 lesion and rehabilitative training (P > 0.2).
Postlesion training spares peri-infarct hand area regardless of whether the lesion is in the rostral or caudal M1.
PMCID: PMC2743898  PMID: 17172554
Recovery; Rehabilitation; Cortical plasticity; Stroke
9.  Behavioral and neurophysiological effects of delayed training following a small ischemic infarct in primary motor cortex of squirrel monkeys 
A focal injury within the cerebral cortex results in functional reorganization within the spared cortex through time-dependent metabolic and physiological reactions. Physiological changes are also associated with specific post-injury behavioral experiences. Knowing how these factors interact can be beneficial in planning rehabilitative intervention after a stroke. The purpose of this study was to assess the functional impact of delaying the rehabilitative behavioral experience upon movement representations within the primary motor cortex (M1) in an established nonhuman primate, ischemic infarct model. Five adult squirrel monkeys were trained on a motor-skill task prior to and 1 month after an experimental ischemic infarct was induced in M1. Movement representations of the hand were derived within M1 using standard electrophysiological procedures prior to the infarct and again one and two months after the infarct. The results of this study show that even though recovery of motor skills was similar to that of a previous study in squirrel monkeys after early training, unlike early training, delayed training did not result in maintenance of the spared hand representation within the M1 peri-infarct hand area. Instead, delaying training resulted in a large decrease in spared hand representation during the spontaneous recovery period that persisted following the delayed training. In addition, delayed training resulted in an increase of simultaneously evoked movements that are typically independent. These results indicate that post-injury behavioral experience, such as motor skill training, may modulate peri-infarct cortical plasticity in different ways in the acute versus chronic stages following stroke.
PMCID: PMC2740647  PMID: 16273404
Squirrel monkeys; Stroke rehabilitation; Recovery of function; Motor learning; ICMS
10.  Ipsilateral connections of the ventral premotor cortex in a New World primate 
The present study describes the pattern of connections of the ventral premotor cortex (PMv) with various cortical regions of the ipsilateral hemisphere in adult squirrel monkeys. Particularly, we 1) quantified the proportion of inputs and outputs that the PMv distal forelimb representation shares with other areas in the ipsilateral cortex and 2) defined the pattern of PMv connections with respect to the location of the distal forelimb representation in primary motor cortex (M1), primary somatosensory cortex (S1) and the supplementary motor area (SMA). Intracortical microstimulation techniques (ICMS) were used in four experimentally naïve monkeys to identify M1, PMv and SMA forelimb movement representations. Multi-unit recording techniques and myelin staining were used to identify the S1 hand representation. Then, biotinylated dextran amine (BDA; 10000MW) was injected in the center of the PMv distal forelimb representation. Following tangential sectioning, the distribution of BDA-labeled cell bodies and terminal boutons was documented. In M1, labeling followed a rostro-lateral pattern, largely leaving the caudo-medial M1 unlabeled. Quantification of somata and terminals showed that two areas share major connections with PMv: M1 and frontal areas immediately rostral to PMv, designated as frontal rostral area (FR). Connections with this latter region have not been described previously. Moderate connections were found with PMd, SMA, anterior operculum and posterior operculum/inferior parietal area. Minor connections were found with diverse areas of the precentral and parietal cortex, including S1. No statistical difference between the proportion of inputs and outputs for any location was observed, supporting the reciprocity of PMv intracortical connections.
PMCID: PMC2583355  PMID: 16485282
corticocortical; motor cortex; neuroanatomy; PMV; topographic map; ipsilateral
11.  An Additional Motor-Related Field in the Lateral Frontal Cortex of Squirrel Monkeys 
Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY)  2008;18(12):2719-2728.
Our earlier efforts to document the cortical connections of the ventral premotor cortex (PMv) revealed dense connections with a field rostral and lateral to PMv, an area we called the frontal rostral field (FR). Here, we present data collected in FR using electrophysiological and anatomical methods. Results show that FR contains an isolated motor representation of the forelimb that can be differentiated from PMv based on current thresholds and latencies to evoke electromyographic activity using intracortical microstimulation techniques. In addition, FR has a different pattern of cortical connections compared with PMv. Together, these data support that FR is an additional, previously undescribed motor-related area in squirrel monkeys.
PMCID: PMC2583161  PMID: 18424778
frontal lateral cortex; frontal rostral area; intracortical microstimulation, motor control; neuroanatomy; ventral premotor cortex

Results 1-11 (11)