Organization of nonprimary motor cortical inputs on pyramidal and nonpyramidal tract neurons of primary motor cortex: An electrophysiological study in the macaque monkey

Cereb Cortex. 2000 Jan;10(1):58-68. doi: 10.1093/cercor/10.1.58.


To elucidate the functions of nonprimary motor cortical (nPMC) areas whose afferents synapse onto output neurons of the primary motor cortex (PMC), we examined the responses of pyramidal tract neurons (PTNs) and non-PTNs (nPTNs) to electrical stimulation in the three nPMCs, the supplementary motor area (SMA) and the dorsal and ventral divisions of the premotor cortex (PMd and PMv), with extracellular unit recording in alert monkeys. Typical responses of PTNs to nPMC stimulation were early orthodromic excitatory responses followed by inhibitory responses. Among 27 PTNs tested by constructing peri-stimulus time histograms, 19 (70.4%) showed inhibitory responses to stimulation in all of the nPMC areas. In contrast, 5/33 PTNs (15.2%) and 10/72 nPTNs (13.9%) showed excitatory responses to stimulation in all of the nPMCs. The inhibitory responses of PTNs were mediated by inhibitory interneurons, some of which may correspond to nPTNs in the superficial layers of the PMC. These interneurons probably possess widely extended axons and nonspecifically inhibit multiple PTNs in layer V. The excitatory and inhibitory influences, and the patterns of convergence of inputs from the nPMCs onto the PTNs, are important to understand motor control by the nPMC-PMC-spinal cord pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electrophysiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Extrapyramidal Tracts / physiology*
  • Female
  • Forearm / innervation
  • Macaca
  • Medulla Oblongata / physiology
  • Motor Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiology*
  • Wakefulness / physiology