Intrasurgical mapping of complex motor function in the superior frontal gyrus

Neuroscience. 2011 Apr 14:179:131-42. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.01.047. Epub 2011 Jan 28.


A lesion to the superior frontal gyrus (SFG) has been associated with long-lasting deficits in complex motor functions. The aim of this study was to analyze the functional role of the SFG by means of electrical cortical stimulation. Direct intraoperative electrical stimulation was used in a group of 21 subjects with lesions within or close to the SFG while they performed three motor tasks that require high skills or bimanual synergy. The results were compared to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Ninety-four of the 98 (94.9%) labels identified were located on the convexity surface of the SFG and only four (4.1%) labels were located on the middle surface of the SFG. Areas of blockage of the three tasks were identified in six of the 12 (50%) hemispheres with lesions that had infiltrated the SFG, compared to all 10 of the 10 hemispheres (100%) with lesions that spared the SFG. The difference between these two proportions was statistically significant (P=0.015). fMRI activation was mainly located on the medial aspect of the SFG. We show that the convexity surface of the SFG has an important role in bilateral control of complex movements and in bimanual coordination. The infiltration of the posterior part of the SFG by a lesion disturbs some of the complex hand motor functions, which may be assumed by the contralesional homologous area. Finally, the current study emphasizes the discrepancies between fMRI and intraoperative electrical stimulation maps in complex hand motor function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Mapping* / methods
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / injuries
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*