Functional imaging reveals rapid reorganization of cortical activity after parietal inactivation in monkeys.


Impairments of spatial awareness and decision making occur frequently as a consequence of parietal lesions. Here we used event-related functional MRI (fMRI) in monkeys to investigate rapid reorganization of spatial networks during reversible pharmacological inactivation of the lateral intraparietal area (LIP), which plays a role in the selection of eye movement targets. We measured fMRI activity in control and inactivation sessions while monkeys performed memory saccades to either instructed or autonomously chosen spatial locations. Inactivation caused a reduction of contralesional choices. Inactivation effects on fMRI activity were anatomically and functionally specific and mainly consisted of: (i) activity reduction in the upper bank of the superior temporal sulcus (temporal parietal occipital area) for single contralesional targets, especially in the inactivated hemisphere; and (ii) activity increase accompanying contralesional choices between bilateral targets in several frontal and parieto-temporal areas in both hemispheres. There was no overactivation for ipsilesional targets or choices in the intact hemisphere. Task-specific effects of LIP inactivation on blood oxygen level-dependent activity in the temporal parietal occipital area underline the importance of the superior temporal sulcus for spatial processing. Furthermore, our results agree only partially with the influential interhemispheric competition model of spatial neglect and suggest an additional component of interhemispheric cooperation in the compensation of neglect deficits.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1204789109

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