Origins of callosal projections to the supplementary motor area (SMA): a direct comparison between pre-SMA and SMA-proper in macaque monkeys

J Comp Neurol. 2002 Jan 28;443(1):71-85. doi: 10.1002/cne.10087.


The two subdivisions of the supplementary motor area (SMA), the pre-SMA (rostrally) and SMA-proper (caudally), exhibit distinct functional properties and clear differences with respect to their connectivity with the spinal cord, the thalamus, and other homolateral motor cortical areas. The goal of the present study was to establish in monkeys whether these subdivisions also differ with regard to their callosal connectivity. Two fluorescent retrograde tracers (Fast Blue and Diamidino Yellow) were injected in each animal, one in the pre-SMA and the second in the SMA-proper. Tracer injections in the pre-SMA or in SMA-proper resulted in significant numbers of labeled neurons in the opposite SMA, premotor cortex (PM), cingulate motor areas (CMA), and cingulate gyrus. Labeled neurons in M1 were rare, being observed only after injection in the SMA-proper. The two subdivisions of the SMA differed in the proportion of labeled neurons found across areas providing their callosal inputs. The SMA-proper receives about half of its callosal inputs from its counterpart in the other hemisphere (42-65% across monkeys). A comparable proportion of neurons was found in the pre-SMA after injection in the opposite pre-SMA (32-47%). The pre-SMA receives more callosal inputs from the rostral halves of the dorsal PM, the ventral PM, and the CMA than from their caudal halves. In addition, the pre-SMA, but not the SMA-proper, receives callosal inputs from the prefrontal cortex. The SMA-proper receives more callosal inputs from the caudal halves of the dorsal PM and ventral PM than from their rostral halves. The two subdivisions of the SMA receive callosal inputs from the same cortical areas (except the prefrontal cortex and M1), but they differ with respect to the quantitative contribution of each area of origin. In conclusion, quantitative data now support the notion that pre-SMA receives more transcallosal inputs than the SMA-proper.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amidines
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Corpus Callosum / cytology*
  • Corpus Callosum / physiology
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / cytology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Macaca mulatta / anatomy & histology*
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology
  • Motor Cortex / cytology*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / cytology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology


  • Amidines
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • diamidino compound 253-50
  • diamidino yellow