Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 153, Issue 2, pp 158–170 | Cite as

Role of the medial parieto-occipital cortex in the control of reaching and grasping movements

  • Claudio Galletti
  • Dieter F. Kutz
  • Michela Gamberini
  • Rossella Breveglieri
  • Patrizia Fattori


The medial parieto-occipital cortex is a central node in the dorsomedial visual stream. Recent physiological studies in the macaque monkey have demonstrated that the medial parieto-occipital cortex contains two areas, the visual area V6 and the visuomotor area V6A. Area V6 is a retinotopically organized visual area that receives form and motion information directly from V1 and is heavily connected with the other areas of the dorsal visual stream, including V6A. Area V6A is a bimodal visual/somatosensory area that elaborates visual information such as form, motion and space suitable for the control of both reaching and grasping movements. Somatosensory and skeletomotor activities in V6A affect the upper limbs and involve both the transport phase of reaching and grasping movements. Finally, V6A is strongly and reciprocally connected with the dorsal premotor cortex controlling arm movements. The picture emerging from these data is that the medial parieto-occipital cortex is well equipped to control both proximal and distal movements in the online visuomotor guidance of prehension. In agreement with this view, selective V6A lesions in monkey produce misreaching and misgrasping with the arm contralateral to the lesion in visually guided movements. These deficits are similar to those observed in optic ataxia patients and suggest that human and monkey superior parietal lobules are homologous structures, and that optic ataxia syndrome is the result of the lesion of a 'human' area V6A.


Area V6 Area V6A Dorsal visual stream Optic ataxia Visuomotor transformation Control of prehension 



This work was supported by Grants from the Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica, Italy.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Galletti
    • 1
  • Dieter F. Kutz
    • 1
  • Michela Gamberini
    • 1
  • Rossella Breveglieri
    • 1
  • Patrizia Fattori
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Fisiologia Umana e GeneraleUniversità di Bologna40127 BolognaItaly

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