This study explored the somatotopy of the motor areas of the medial wall of the cerebral hemisphere, in the human brain. In a sample of 16 healthy participants, we drew 9 regions of interest (ROI) over the primary motor area (M1), each corresponding to a well-known somatic representation. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated the resting state functional connectivity between each selected ROI and the motor areas of the medial wall. The main finding was the identification of a rostrocaudal gradient of connectivity in which the more we move from cranial to caudal body representation areas in M1, the more the corresponding connected area in the medial wall is shifted rostrocaudally, confirming the somatotopic schema found in the SMA. We also reanalyzed data obtained in a previous experiment, we performed using hand and foot motor tasks; the reanalysis consisted in traditional BOLD and functional connectivity analyses. Finally, we performed a meta-analysis of 28 studies of hand and foot motor tasks, mapping their cerebral representations using the tools provided by the Brainmap database. All data converge in confirming a somatotopic representation of the medial wall motor areas, with hand representation placed more rostrally and ventrally than that of the foot.
Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.