Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Corticospinal projections from the medial wall of the hemisphere

  • 82 Accesses

  • 153 Citations


We injected wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase into different segments of the spinal cord in order to examine the topographic organization of corticospinal projections from the medial wall of the hemisphere. We observed that substantial projections to the spinal cord originate not only from the supplementary motor area (SMA) in area 6, but also from 2 regions within the cingulate sulcus. The distribution of labeled neurons following tracer injections into different spinal cord segments indicates that corticospinal projections from the SMA and from the 2 cingulate regions are somatotopically organized. These findings together with other recent anatomical observations suggest that the corticospinal projections from the medial wall of the hemisphere provide the basal ganglia and limbic system with a somatotopically organized access to spinal cord mechanisms.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Alexander GE, DeLong MR, Strick PL (1986) Parallel organization of functionally segregated circuits linking basal ganglia and cortex. Ann Rev Neurosci 9: 357–381

  2. Biber MP, Kneisley LW, Lavail JH (1978) Cortical neurons projecting to the cervical and lumbar enlargements of the spinal cord in young adult rhesus monkeys. Exp Neurol 59: 492–508

  3. Bonin G von, Bailey P (1947) The neocortex of Macaca mulatta. University of Illinois Press, Urbana Ill., Illinois Monographs in Medical Sciences, Vol 5

  4. Gemba H, Sasaki K, Brooks VB (1986) ‘Error’ potentials in limbic cortex (anterior cingulate area 24) of monkeys during motor learning. Neurosci Lett 70: 223–227

  5. Kuypers HGJM (1981) Anatomy of the descending pathways. In: Brooks VB (ed) Handbook of physiology, Sect I. The nervous system, Vol II. Motor control. American Physiological Society, Bethesda MD, 597–666

  6. Liu CN, Chambers WW (1964) An experimental study of the corticospinal system in the monkey (Macaca mulatta). The spinal pathways and preterminal distribution of degenerating fibers following discrete lesions of the pre-and postcentral gyri and bulbar pyramid. J Comp Neurol 123: 257–284

  7. Macpherson JM, Marangoz C, Miles TS, Wiesendanger M (1982a) Microstimulation of the supplementary motor area (SMA) in the awake monkey. Exp Brain Res 45: 410–416

  8. Macpherson JM, Wiesendanger M, Marangoz C, Miles TS (1982b) Corticospinal neurons of the supplementary motor area of monkeys: a single unit study. Exp Brain Res 48: 81–88

  9. Martino AM, Strick PL (1987) Corticospinal projections originate from the arcuate premotor area. Brain Res 404: 307–312

  10. Mesulam MM (1982) Tracing of neural connections with horseradish peroxidase. John Wiley and Sons Inc, New York

  11. Mitz AR, Wise SP (1987) The somatotopic organization of the supplementary motor area: intracortical microstimulation mapping. J Neurosci 7: 1010–1021

  12. Muakkassa KF, Strick PL (1979) Frontal lobe inputs to primary motor cortex: evidence for four somatotopically organized “premotor” areas. Brain Res 177: 176–182

  13. Murray EA, Coulter JD (1981) Organization of corticospinal neurons in the monkey. J Comp Neurol 195: 339–365

  14. Nudo RJ (1985) A quantitative HRP study of the cells originating the corticospinal tract: comparative morphology in the anthropoid ancestral lineage. Doctoral Dissertation Florida State University

  15. Penfield W, Welch K (1951) The supplementary motor area of the cerebral cortex: a clinical and experimental study. Arch Neurol Psychiat 66: 289–317

  16. Primrose DC, Strick PL (1985) The organization of interconnections between the premotor areas in the primate frontal lobe and the arm area of primary motor cortex. Soc Neurosci Abstr 11: 1274

  17. Schell GR, Strick PL (1984) The origin of thalamic inputs to the arcuate premotor and supplementary motor areas. J Neurosci 4: 539–560

  18. Schlag J, Schlag-Rey M (1987) Evidence for a supplementary eye field. J Neurophysiol 57: 179–200

  19. Showers MJC (1959) The cingulate gyrus: additional motor areas and cortical autonomic regulator. J Comp Neurol 112: 231–287

  20. Toyoshima K, Sakai H (1982) Exact cortical extent of the origin of the corticospinal tract (CST) and the quantitative contribution to the CST in different cytoarchitectonic areas. A study with horseradish peroxidase in the monkey. J Hirnforsch 23: 257–269

  21. Vogt BA (1985) Cingulate cortex. In: Peters A, Jones EG (eds) Cerebral cortex, Vol. 4. Plenum, New York, pp 89–149

  22. Ward AA (1948) The cingular gyrus: area 24. J Neurophysiol 11: 13–24

  23. Wiesendanger R, Wiesendanger M (1985) The thalamic connections with medial area 6 (supplementary motor cortex) in the monkey (Macaca fascicularis). Exp Brain Res 59: 91–104

  24. Wise SP, Tanji J (1981) Supplementary and precentral motor cortex: contrasts in responsiveness to peripheral input in the hindlimb area of the unanesthetized monkey. J Comp Neurol 195: 433–442

  25. Woolsey CN (1958) Organization of somatic sensory and motor areas of the cerebral cortex. In: Harlow HF, Woolsey CN (eds) Biological and biochemical bases of behavior. Univ. Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp 63–81

  26. Woolsey CN, Settlage PH, Meyer DR, Sencer W, Pinto Hamuy T, Travis AM (1952) Patterns of localization in precentral and “supplementary” motor areas and their relation to the concept of a premotor area. Res Publ Assoc Res Nerv Ment Dis 30: 238–264

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to P. L. Strick.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hutchins, K.D., Martino, A.M. & Strick, P.L. Corticospinal projections from the medial wall of the hemisphere. Exp Brain Res 71, 667–672 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00248761

Download citation

Key words

  • Supplementary motor area (SMA)
  • Cingulate cortex
  • Premotor areas
  • Medial wall of the hemisphere