Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 445–462

Short-latency peripheral inputs to thalamic neurones projecting to the motor cortex in the monkey


  • R. N. Lemon
    • Department of AnatomyErasmus University Rotterdam
  • J. van der Burg
    • Department of AnatomyErasmus University Rotterdam

DOI: 10.1007/BF00238515

Cite this article as:
Lemon, R.N. & van der Burg, J. Exp Brain Res (1979) 36: 445. doi:10.1007/BF00238515


One hundred seventy-five neurones in the n.ventroposterior lateralis (VPL) and n.ventralis lateralis (VL) in the thalamus of anaesthetised monkeys have been tested antidromically for projection to the cortex and for somatosensory input from the contralateral arm.

Using bipolar stimulation of the cortical surface, 113 thalamic neurones were successfully identified as antidromically driven from the hand area of the postcentral gyrus (48 neurones) or from the hand area of the precentral gyrus (65 neurones). All but one of these 113 neurones could only be antidromically discharged from the postcentral cortex or from the precentral cortex, and not from both. Most had antidromic latencies between 0.5 and 1.5 ms.

Twenty-five/sixty-five precentrally projecting neurones and 45/48 postcentrally projecting neurones were activated by stimulation of the contralateral median or radial nerves. Both groups responded at short latency (4–8 ms) and many were activated by low-threshold shocks (0.8–1.3 T) and had restricted receptive fields on the hand. Precentrally projecting neurones responded most powerfully to joint movement or deep pressure, and some of these neurones were also responsive to cutaneous stimuli.

Precentrally projecting neurones with peripheral inputs were all found in the oral subdivision of the VPL (the VPLo). The properties of these neurones suggest that they may be partly responsible for rapid somatosensory input to the motor cortex.

Key words

MonkeyThalamusMotor cortex
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© Springer-Verlag 1979