Cortical Connections of Functional Zones in Posterior Parietal Cortex and Frontal Cortex Motor Regions in New World Monkeys

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We examined the connections of posterior parietal cortex (PPC) with motor/premotor cortex (M1/PM) and other cortical areas. Electrical stimulation (500 ms trains) delivered to microelectrode sites evoked movements of reach, defense, and grasp, from distinct zones in M1/PM and PPC, in squirrel and owl monkeys. Tracer injections into M1/PM reach, defense, and grasp zones showed dense connections with M1/PM hand/forelimb representations. The densest inputs outside of frontal cortex were from PPC zones. M1 zones were additionally connected with somatosensory hand/forelimb representations in areas 3a, 3b, and 1 and the somatosensory areas of the upper bank of the lateral sulcus (S2/PV). Injections into PPC zones showed primarily local connections and the densest inputs outside of PPC originated from M1/PM zones. The PPC reach zone also received dense inputs from cortex caudal to PPC, which likely relayed visual information. In contrast, the PPC grasp zone was densely connected with the hand/forelimb representations of areas 3a, 3b, 1, and S2/PV. Thus, the dorsal parietal–frontal network involved in reaching was preferentially connected to visual cortex, whereas the more ventral network involved in grasping received somatosensory inputs. Additional weak interlinks between dissimilar zones (e.g., PPC reach and PPC grasp) were apparent and may coordinate actions.

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