Bereitschaftspotential (BP) was recorded directly from the right supplementary motor area proper (SMA-proper) and its rostral part by chronically implanted subdural electrodes in three patients with intractable focal motor seizure. Cortical electrical stimulation of the SMA-proper revealed the somatotopy as previously reported, and the supplementary negative motor area (SNMA) was identified just anterior to the SMA-proper in two of three cases. In patient 1, eight kinds of simple movements, i.e., left and right middle finger extension, left arm abduction, left and right foot dorsiflexion, left knee extension, tongue protrusion and saccadic eye movement, were studied to record BP. In patient 2, three kinds of movements, i.e., left and right middle finger extension and left foot dorsiflexion, were adopted as movement tasks. In patient 3, four kinds of movements, i.e., left and right middle finger extension and left and right foot dorsiflexion, were adopted. In the SMA-proper, somatotopically distributed BP preceding movements were observed in all three patients. In the SNMA and its rostrally adjacent areas, "SNMA-plus" BPs were generated invariably regardless of the sites of movement. There was no significant difference in the onset time of BPs between the SMA-proper and the SNMA-plus. The present findings suggest that the SNMA-plus is more consistently involved in the preparation for various simple movements than the SMA-proper. This functionally independent region (SNMA-plus) just rostral to the SMA-proper most likely corresponds to a part of the presupplementary motor area which was originally defined in nonhuman primates. Since a part of this area elicited the inhibition of various movements by cortical stimulation, and since it generated BPs regardless of the sites of movement, it may play a higher role in the movement preparatory process than the SMA-proper.
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