Corticostriate Projections from Areas of the “Lateral Grasping Network”: Evidence for Multiple Hand-Related Input Channels

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Abstract

Corticostriatal projections from the primate cortical motor areas partially overlap in different zones of a large postcommissural putaminal sector designated as “motor” putamen. These zones are at the origin of parallel basal ganglia-thalamocortical subloops involved in modulating the cortical motor output. However, it is still largely unknown how parietal and prefrontal areas, connected to premotor areas, and involved in controlling higher order aspects of motor control, project to the basal ganglia. Based on tracer injections at the cortical level, we analyzed the corticostriatal projections of the macaque hand-related ventrolateral prefrontal, ventral premotor, and inferior parietal areas forming a network for controlling purposeful hand actions (lateral grasping network). The results provided evidence for partial overlap or interweaving of these projections in correspondence of 2 putaminal zones, distinct from the motor putamen, one located just rostral to the anterior commissure, the other in the caudal and ventral part. Thus, the present data provide evidence for partial overlap or interweaving in specific striatal zones (input channels) of projections from multiple, even remote, areas taking part in a large-scale functionally specialized cortical network. Furthermore, they suggest the presence of multiple hand-related input channels, possibly differentially involved in controlling goal-directed hand actions.

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