Pallidal discharge related to the kinematics of reaching movements in two dimensions

J Neurophysiol. 1997 Mar;77(3):1051-74. doi: 10.1152/jn.1997.77.3.1051.


Movement-related discharge of neurons in the internal and external segments of the globus pallidus (GPi and GPe, respectively) of two monkeys was studied during reaching movements in a two-dimensional work-space. Discharge was studied during movements to targets in eight directions and at three distances from the starting position under three behavioral conditions that manipulated target visibility and movement triggering. A total of 73 neurons (57 in GPe and 18 in GPi) with changes in discharge in concert with arm movements were included in a quantitative analysis. Of these, 83% also changed their discharge during manipulation of the contralateral arm outside of the task. Although 73% of changes in discharge began before the initiation of movement, they seldom preceded the initial activity of the antagonist muscles. Decreases in discharge were more common than reported previously, constituting 40% of the changes in discharge detected. In GPi neurons, decreases also tended to begin earlier than increases. Changes in discharge in GPe neurons were of larger magnitude than those in GPi, and increases in discharge were larger than decreases. Onsets of changes in discharge were temporally linked to movement onset in 69% of neurons. Time locking of neural onset to trigger presentation and movement termination was found in only 30 and 1% of neurons, respectively. Direction of movement influenced the magnitude of changes in discharge in 78% of cells. Directional modulations were broadly tuned and preferred directions were uniformly distributed across the range of directions. When directional modulations were large, preferred directions were consistent for different amplitudes of movement and for different behavioral conditions. Amplitude of movement influenced the magnitude of changes in discharge in 78% of cells, and in 80% of cases that relation had a significant linear component. Amplitude effects were not more common or stronger for movements in directions close to a cell's preferred direction. Linear relations to movement amplitude were more common and accounted for more of the trial-to-trial variance in discharge rate than relations to either average velocity or movement duration. The relation to movement amplitude was consistent for two behavioral conditions when the change in discharge was scaled strongly with movement amplitude. Movement-related changes in discharge of neurons in the skeletomotor portions of both pallidal segments reflect the kinematics of movement. This information, encoded in combination with sensory and contextual information, may play an on-line role in the selective facilitation and suppression of different frontal thalamocortical circuits.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cues
  • Electromyography
  • Globus Pallidus / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology