Each hemisphere is known to be also involved in controlling the ipsilateral arm, but with an asymmetry favoring the dominant hemisphere. However, the relative role of primary and secondary motor areas in ipsilateral control is not well defined. We used whole brain functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy human subjects to differentiate between contributions from primary and secondary areas during discrete unilateral distal finger and proximal shoulder movements. It was found that ipsilateral distal movements activated secondary areas only, while sparing or even significantly deactivating the primary sensorimotor cortex. Ipsilateral proximal movements substantially activated both SM1 and secondary areas. A newly defined small territory within the precentral gyrus, extending from the premotor cortex and intruding toward SM1, showed an activation pattern corresponding to secondary motor areas. Finally, the effects of hemispheric dominance were confirmed, but attributed exclusively to secondary areas. These new imaging findings agree well with functional requirements as well as established anatomical and neurophysiological data.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.