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Publication Detail
Movement initiation and grasp representation in premotor and primary motor cortex mirror neurons.
Pyramidal tract neurons (PTNs) within macaque rostral ventral premotor cortex (F5) and primary motor cortex (M1) provide direct input to spinal circuitry and are critical for skilled movement control. Contrary to initial hypotheses, they can also be active during action observation, in the absence of any movement. A population-level understanding of this phenomenon is currently lacking. We recorded from single neurons, including identified PTNs, in M1 (n=187), and area F5 (n=115) as two adult male macaques executed, observed, or withheld (NoGo) reach-to-grasp actions. F5 maintained a similar representation of grasping actions during both execution and observation. In contrast, although many individual M1 neurons were active during observation, M1 population activity was distinct from execution, and more closely aligned to NoGo activity, suggesting this activity contributes to withholding of self-movement. M1 and its outputs may dissociate the initiation of movement from the representation of grasp in order to flexibly guide behaviour.
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