Bilateral hand representation in the postcentral somatosensory cortex

Nature. 1994 Jun 16;369(6481):554-6. doi: 10.1038/369554a0.


In accordance with its important role in prehensile activity, a large cortical area is devoted to representation of the digits. Within this large cortical zone in the macaque somatosensory cortex, the complexity of neuronal receptive field characteristics increases from area 3b to areas 1 and 2 (refs 1-7). This increase in complexity continues into the upper bank of the intraparietal sulcus, where the somatosensory cortex adjoins the parietal association cortex. In this bank, callosal connections are much denser than in the more anterior part of this cortical zone. We have now discovered a substantial number of neurons with receptive fields on the bilateral hands. It was previously thought that neuronal receptive fields were restricted to the contralateral side in this cortical zone. Neurons with bilateral receptive fields were not found after lesioning the postcentral gyrus in the contralateral hemisphere. The majority of these neurons had receptive fields of the most complex types, representing multiple digits, indicating that the interhemispheric transfer of information occurs at higher levels of the hierarchical processing in each hemisphere.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Fingers / innervation
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Hand / innervation*
  • Macaca
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / cytology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*