Somatotopy and movement representation sites following cortical stroke

Exp Brain Res. 2006 Jan;168(1-2):25-32. doi: 10.1007/s00221-005-0082-2. Epub 2005 Aug 12.


Stroke has been associated with many changes in motor system function, but there has been limited study of changes in somatotopic organization. This was examined in a group of patients with cortical stroke affecting primary sensorimotor cortex. In 17 patients with good outcome after cortical stroke involving precentral and/or postcentral gyri, plus 14 controls, four functional MRI evaluations of brain activity were obtained: finger, shoulder, and face motor tasks plus a sensory task, passive finger motion. For each, coordinates for contralateral primary sensorimotor cortex activation site were determined, as was a measure of inter-hemispheric balance. The normal motor somatotopy measured in controls was largely preserved after stroke. The main difference found between controls and patients was that the face was lateral to finger motor activation in all controls, but face was centered medial to finger in 43% of patients. Among patients, smaller infarct volume was associated with more ventral, and larger infarct with more dorsal, contralateral primary sensorimotor cortex activation. On the other hand, better behavioral outcome was associated with a more posterior, and poorer outcome with more anterior, activation. Larger infarct and poorer behavioral outcome were each associated with a change in inter-hemispheric balance towards the non-stroke hemisphere. Shifts in contralateral movement representation site did not correlate with changes in inter-hemispheric balance. Motor somatotopy is generally preserved after injury to primary sensorimotor cortex. Greater injury and larger behavioral deficits are associated with distinct effects on movement representation sites. Changes in motor organization within and between hemispheres arise independently after stroke.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / blood supply
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Infarction / pathology
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Face / innervation
  • Face / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fingers / innervation
  • Fingers / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Shoulder / innervation
  • Shoulder / physiopathology
  • Stroke / pathology
  • Stroke / physiopathology*


  • Oxygen