Concurrent damage to the lateral frontal and parietal cortex is common following middle cerebral artery infarction, leading to upper extremity paresis, paresthesia, and sensory loss. Motor recovery is often poor, and the mechanisms that support or impede this process are unclear. Since the medial wall of the cerebral hemisphere is commonly spared following stroke, we investigated the spontaneous long-term (6 and 12 month) effects of lateral frontoparietal injury (F2P2 lesion) on the terminal distribution of the corticospinal projection (CSP) from intact, ipsilesional supplementary motor cortex (M2) at spinal levels C5 to T1. Isolated injury to the frontoparietal arm/hand region resulted in a significant loss of contralateral corticospinal boutons from M2 compared with controls. Specifically, reductions occurred in the medial and lateral parts of lamina VII and the dorsal quadrants of lamina IX. There were no statistical differences in the ipsilateral CSP. Contrary to isolated lateral frontal motor injury (F2 lesion), which results in substantial increases in contralateral M2 labeling in laminae VII and IX (McNeal et al.  J. Comp. Neurol. 518:586-621), the added effect of adjacent parietal cortex injury to the frontal motor lesion (F2P2 lesion) not only impedes a favorable compensatory neuroplastic response but results in a substantial loss of M2 CSP terminals. This dramatic reversal of the CSP response suggests a critical trophic role for cortical somatosensory influence on spared ipsilesional frontal corticospinal projections, and that restoration of a favorable compensatory response will require therapeutic intervention.
Keywords: corticofugal; frontal lobe; hand movements; motor recovery; neurosurgical resection; parietal lobe; plasticity; pyramidal tract; spinal cord.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.