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Keywords:

  • AIP;
  • CIP;
  • event related fMRI;
  • surface orientation;
  • visually guided hand movement

Abstract

In the monkey the lateral bank of the anterior part of the intraparietal sulcus (area AIP), contains neurons that are involved in visually guided, object-related hand movements. It has also been shown that neurons in the caudal part of the intraparietal sulcus (area CIP) preferentially respond to 3D surface orientation. According to these results, it has been hypothesized that neurons in area CIP primarily encode the 3D features of an object and forwards this information to area AIP. AIP then utilizes this information for appropriate hand actions towards the object. Based on analogies to these primate studies, recent neuroimaging studies have suggested human homologues of areas AIP and CIP, however, the functional interaction between these areas remains unclear. Our event related fMRI study was designed to address specifically the question, how CIP and AIP interact in the process of adjustment of hand orientation towards objects. Volunteers were asked to perform three tasks: discrimination of surface orientation, imaging of visually guided hand movements and execution of visually guided hand movements. Our data show that the human AIP was activated both during discrimination of surface orientation and during the subsequent spatial adjustment of the thumb and index finger position towards the surface orientation. In contrast, human CIP was activated by the surface orientation but not by spatial adjustment of finger position. These data clearly indicate that the function of human CIP is more involved in coding 3D features of the objects, whereas human AIP is more involved in visually guided hand movements, similar to its role in the monkey.