Construction of a Reach-to-Grasp

  1. Gregory R. Bock organizer and
  2. Jamie A. Goode
  1. A. R. Gibson1,
  2. K. M. Horn1,
  3. M. Pong1 and
  4. P. L. E. Van Kan2

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470515563.ch13

Novartis Foundation Symposium 218 - Sensory Guidance of Movement

Novartis Foundation Symposium 218 - Sensory Guidance of Movement

How to Cite

Gibson, A. R., Horn, K. M., Pong, M. and Van Kan, P. L. E. (2007) Construction of a Reach-to-Grasp, in Novartis Foundation Symposium 218 - Sensory Guidance of Movement (eds G. R. Bock and J. A. Goode), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470515563.ch13

Author Information

  1. 1

    Division of Neurobiology, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital, 350 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI53706-1532, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471982623

Online ISBN: 9780470515563



  • construction;
  • reach-to-grasp;
  • reticular formation;
  • complex spinal interneuronal system;
  • magnocellular red nucleus


Reaching out to grasp an object requires the coordinated action of many different areas of the brain. Each area probably makes a unique contribution to the control of limb movement. We have studied the discharge of interpositus, the output nucleus of intermediate cerebellum, and magnocellular red nucleus, which connects interpositus to the spinal cord. The neurons in these areas discharge at high rates only if a hand movement is included with the reach, and discharge pattern is similar regardless of reach direction. Therefore, interpositus and magnocellular red nucleus are involved primarily in grasp control during the reach-to-grasp; other areas must be controlling the reach. Several other areas of the brain, including the reticular formation, rostra1 mesencephalon, superior colliculus and motor cortex, are active during reaching. The output from these descending systems converges on interneurons at spinal level C1 and C2 which, in turn, project to level C6, where motor neurons innervating shoulder muscles are located. We hypothesize that reach control is achieved by the convergence of multiple descending pathways onto a complex spinal interneuronal system.