Sensory properties of the caudal aspect of the macaque’s superior parietal lobule
In the superior parietal lobule (SPL), the anterior part (area PE) is known to process somatosensory information, while the caudalmost part (areas V6Av and V6) processes visual information. Here we studied the visual and somatosensory properties of the areas PEc and V6Ad located in between the somatosensory and visual domains of SPL. About 1500 neurons were extracellularly recorded in 19 hemispheres of 12 monkeys (Macaca fascicularis). Visual and somatosensory properties of single neurons were generally studied separately, while in a subpopulation of neurons, both the sensory properties were tested. Visual neurons were more represented in V6Ad and somatosensory neurons in PEc. The visual neurons of these two areas showed similar properties and represented a large part of the contralateral visual field, mostly the lower part. In contrast, somatosensory neurons showed remarkable differences. The arms were overrepresented in both the areas, but V6Ad represented only the upper limbs, whereas PEc both the upper and lower limbs. Interestingly, we found that in both the areas, bimodal visual–somatosensory cells represented the proximal part of the arms. We suggest that PEc is involved in locomotion and in the control of hand/foot interaction with the objects of the environment, while V6Ad is in the control of the object prehension specifically performed with the upper limbs. Neuroimaging and lesion studies from literature support a strict homology with humans.
KeywordsDorsal visual stream Area PEc Area V6A Sensory responses Locomotion Grasping
The authors wish to thank M. Verdosci and F. Campisi for the technical assistance.
This research was supported by Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca, Fondazione Famiglia Parmiani and Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna, Italy.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.
Studies involving animals/human participants
All the applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All the procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.
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