fMRI evaluation of somatotopic representation in human primary motor cortex

Neuroimage. 2000 May;11(5 Pt 1):473-81. doi: 10.1006/nimg.2000.0556.


We used fMRI to map foot, elbow, fist, thumb, index finger, and lip movements in 30 healthy subjects. For each movement type confidence intervals of representational sites in the primary motor cortex (M1) were evaluated. In order to improve the precision of their anatomical localization and to optimize the mapping of cortical activation sites, we used both the assessment of locations in the conventional 3D system and a 2D projection method. In addition to the computation of activation maxima of activation clusters within the precentral gyrus, centers of gravity were determined. Both methods showed a high overlap of their representational confidence intervals. The 2D-projection method revealed statistically significant distinct intralimb locations, e.g., elbow versus index finger movements and index finger versus thumb movements. Increased degree of complexity of finger movements resulted in a spread of the somatotopic location toward the arm representation. The 2D-projection method-based fMRI evaluation of limb movements showed high precision and was able to reveal differences in intralimb movement comparisons. fMRI activation revealed a clear somatotopic order of movement representation in M1 and also reflected different degrees of complexity of movement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Elbow / physiology
  • Female
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Foot / physiology
  • Hand / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lip / physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Thumb / physiology