Classically, it has been hypothesized that reach-to-grasp movements arise from two discrete parieto-frontal cortical networks. As part of these networks, the dorsal premotor cortex has been implicated in the control of reaching movements of the arm, while the ventral premotor cortex has been associated with the control of grasping movements of the hand. Recent studies have shown that such a strict delineation of function along anatomical boundaries is unlikely partly because reaching to different locations can alter distal hand kinematics and grasping different objects can affect kinematics of the proximal arm; Here, we used chronically implanted multi-electrode arrays to record unit spiking activity in both PMd and PMv simultaneously while rhesus macaques engaged in a reach-to-grasp task. Generalized linear models were used to predict the spiking activity of cells in both areas as a function of different kinematic parameters, as well as spike history. To account for the influence of reaching on hand kinematics and vice-versa, we applied demixed principal component analysis to define kinematics synergies that maximized variance across either different object locations or grip types. We found that single cells in both PMd and PMv encode the kinematics of both reaching and grasping synergies suggesting that this classical division of reach and grasp in PMd and PMv, respectively, does not accurately reflect the encoding preferences of cells in those areas.
For reach-to-grasp movements, the dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) has been implicated in the control of reaching movements of the arm, while the ventral premotor cortex (PMv) has been associated with the control of grasping movements of the hand. We recorded unit spiking activity in PMd and PMv simultaneously while macaques performed a reach-to-grasp task. We modeled the spiking activity of neurons as a function of kinematic parameters and spike history. We applied demixed principal component analysis to define kinematics synergies. We found that single units in both PMd and PMv encode the kinematics of both reaching and grasping synergies suggesting that the division of reach and grasp in PMd and PMv, respectively, can't be made based on their encoding properties.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
This work was supported by grant RO1 NS045853 from the NINDS and RO1 DE023816 from the NIDCR. The authors are grateful for the support of the University of Chicago Research Computing Center for assistance with the calculations carried out in this work. The authors would like to thank Gustavo Alvarez, Alina Scotti, Michelle Guo for assistance in processing motion capture data.