Role of primate basal ganglia and frontal cortex in the internal generation of movements. II. Movement-related activity in the anterior striatum

Exp Brain Res. 1992;91(3):385-95. doi: 10.1007/BF00227835.


In order to more comprehensively assess the role of the basal ganglia in the internal generation of movements, we studied the activity of neurons in the head of the caudate and in the rostral putamen in relation to the execution of movements. Monkeys performed self-initiated and stimulus-triggered arm reaching movements in separate blocks of trials. With stimulus-triggered movements, 217 striatal neurons increased their activity after the trigger stimulus (127 in caudate, 90 in putamen). Of these, 68 neurons showed time-locked responses to the trigger stimulus, with a median latency of 60 ms, that were independent of visual or auditory stimulus modalities. Three quarters of responses were conditional on a movement being performed. These responses may participate in neuronal processes through which the reception of a stimulus is translated into the execution of a behavioral reaction. Further, 44 neurons increased their activity before the earliest muscle activity without being clearly time-locked to the stimulus (148-324 ms before movement onset), 55 neurons were activated later before the movement, and 50 neurons were activated after movement onset. With self-initiated movements, 106 striatal neurons showed movement-related activity beginning up to 460 ms before movement onset (52 in caudate, 54 in putamen). Comparisons between the two types of movement were made on 53 neurons with premovement activity beginning more than 500 ms before self-initiated movements. Only one fifth of them also showed movement-related activity with stimulus-triggered movements, including trigger responses. Comparisons among 39 neurons with movement-related activity during self-initiated arm movements showed that about half of them also showed movement-related activity with stimulus-triggered movements. These data demonstrate a considerably segregated population of striatal neurons engaged in the internal generation of movements, whereas processes underlying the execution of movements appear to involve overlapping neuronal populations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Saccades / physiology