Ascending vestibular pathways to parietal areas MIP and LIPv and efference copy inputs from the medial reticular formation: Functional frameworks for body representations updating and online movement guidance

Eur J Neurosci. 2019 Sep;50(6):2988-3013. doi: 10.1111/ejn.14426. Epub 2019 May 14.


The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) serves as a sensorimotor interface by integrating multisensory signals with motor related information for generating and updating body representations and movement plans. Using retrograde transneuronal transfer of rabies virus combined with a conventional tracer, we identified direct and polysynaptic pathways to two PPC areas, the rostral medial intraparietal area (MIP) and the ventral part of the lateral intraparietal area (LIPv) in macaque monkeys. We found that rostral MIP and LIPv receive ascending vestibular pathways, and putative efference copy inputs disynaptically from the medullary medial reticular formation (MRF) where reticulospinal pathways to neck and arm motoneurons originate. LIPv receives minor disynaptic vestibular inputs, and substantial projections from the head movement-related rostral MRF, consistent with head gain modulation of LIPv activity and a role in planning gaze shifts. Rostral MIP is the target of prominent disynaptic pathways from reaching- and head movement-related MRF domains, and major ascending vestibular pathways trisynaptically from both labyrinths, explaining prominent vestibular responses and discrimination between active and passive movements demonstrated in rostral MIP and in the neighboring ventral intraparietal area, which are heavily interconnected. The findings that rostral MIP (belonging to the 'parietal reach region'), receives vestibular inputs as directly as classical vestibular areas, via a parallel channel, and efference copy signals pathways from MRF reticulospinal domains that belong to reach and head movement networks have important implications for the understanding of the role of the PPC in updating body representations and internal models for online guidance of movement.

Keywords: monkey; scarpa; systems neuroscience; ventral intraparietal area; virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Image
  • Head Movements / physiology
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Movement / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Reticular Formation / physiology*