Function of basal ganglia in bridging cognitive and motor modules to perform an action

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The basal ganglia (BG) are thought to be involved in the integration of multiple sources of information, and their dysfunction can lead to disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD). PD patients show motor and cognitive dysfunction with specific impairments in the internal generation of motor actions and executive deficits, respectively. The role of the BG, then, would be to integrate information from several sources in order to make a decision on a resulting action adequate for the required task. Reanalyzing the data set from our previous study (Martinu et al., 2012), we investigated this hypothesis by applying a graph theory method to a series of fMRI data during the performance of self-initiated (SI) finger movement tasks obtained in healthy volunteers (HV) and early stage PD patients. Dorsally, connectivity strength between the medial prefrontal areas (mPFC) and cortical regions including the primary motor area (M1), the extrastriate visual cortex, and the associative cortex, was reduced in the PD patients. The connectivity strengths were positively correlated to activity in the striatum in both groups. Ventrally, all connectivity between the striatum, the thalamus, and the extrastriate visual cortex decreased in strength in the PD, as did the connectivity between the striatum and the ventrolateral PFC (VLPFC). Individual response time (RT) was negatively correlated to connectivity strength between the dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC) and the striatum and positively correlated to connectivity between the VLPFC and the striatum in the HV. These results indicate that the BG, with the mPFC and thalamus, are involved in integrating multiple sources of information from areas such as DLPFC, and VLPFC, connecting to M1, thereby determining a network that leads to the adequate decision and performance of the resulting action.




Nagano-Saito, A., Martinu, K., & Monchi, O. (2014). Function of basal ganglia in bridging cognitive and motor modules to perform an action. Frontiers in Neuroscience, (8 JUL).

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