In order to clarify the functional role of the supplementary motor area (SMA) and its rostral part (pre-SMA) in relation to the rate of repetitive finger movements, we recorded movement-related cortical potentials (MRCPs) directly from the surface of the mesial frontal lobe by using subdural electrode grids implanted in four patients with intractable partial epilepsy. Two subregions in the SMA were identified based on the anatomical location and the different response to cortical stimulation. In three of the four subjects, we also recorded MRCPs from the surface of the lateral convexity covering the primary sensorimotor areas (SI-MI), which were defined by cortical stimulation and SEP recording. The subjects extended the middle finger or opposed the thumb against other fingers of the same hand at a self-paced rate of 0.2 Hz (slow) and 2 Hz (rapid), each in separate sessions. As a result, pre- and postmovement potentials were clearly seen at the SI-MI in both slow- and rapid-rate movements. By contrast, in the SMA, especially in the pre-SMA, premovement potentials were not seen and postmovement potentials were seldom seen in the rapid rate movement. In the slow-rate condition, pre- and postmovement potentials were clearly seen in both the pre-SMA and the SMA proper. In conclusion, the SMA, especially the pre-SMA, is less activated electrophysiologically in the rapid-rate movements, while the SI-MI remains active regardless of the movement rate.
- Repetition rate of movement Movement-related cortical potentials
- Subdural recording
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