Causal connectivity between the human anterior intraparietal area and premotor cortex during grasp

Curr Biol. 2010 Jan 26;20(2):176-81. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.11.063. Epub 2010 Jan 21.


The cortical visuomotor grasping circuit, comprising the anterior intraparietal area (AIP), ventral premotor (PMv), and primary motor cortex (M1) allows transformation of an object's physical properties into a suitable motor command for grasp [1-9]. However, little is known about how AIP contributes to the processing of grasp-related information conveyed through the cortical grasping circuit. We addressed this by studying the consequences of AIP "virtual lesions" on physiological interactions between PMv and M1 at rest or during preparation to grasp objects with either a precision grip or a whole-hand grasp. We used a conditioning-test transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) paradigm to test how PMv-M1 interactions [10-12] were modified by disrupting AIP function with theta-burst TMS (cTBS) [13]. At rest, AIP virtual lesions did not modify PMv-M1 interactions. In contrast, the usual muscle-specific PMv-M1 interactions that appeared during grasp preparation were significantly reduced following AIP cTBS without directly modifying corticospinal excitability. Behaviorally, disruption of AIP was also associated with a relative loss of the grasp-specific pattern of digit muscle activity. These findings suggest that grasp-related and muscle-specific PMv-M1 interactions are driven by information about object properties provided by AIP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Hand Strength*
  • Humans
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*