The brain is a plastic organ with a capability to reorganize in response to behavior and/or injury. Following injury to the motor cortex or emergent corticospinal pathways, recovery of function depends on the capacity of surviving anatomical resources to recover and repair in response to task-specific training. One such area implicated in poststroke reorganization to promote recovery of upper extremity recovery is the premotor cortex (PMC). This study reviews the role of distinct subdivisions of PMC: dorsal (PMd) and ventral (PMv) premotor cortices as critical anatomical and physiological nodes within the neural networks for the control and learning of goal-oriented reach and grasp actions in healthy individuals and individuals with stroke. Based on evidence emerging from studies of intrinsic and extrinsic connectivity, transcranial magnetic stimulation, functional neuroimaging, and experimental studies in animals and humans, the authors propose 2 distinct patterns of reorganization that differentially engage ipsilesional and contralesional PMC. Research directions that may offer further insights into the role of PMC in motor control, learning, and poststroke recovery are also proposed. This research may facilitate neuroplasticity for maximal recovery of function following brain injury.
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