Journal of Neurophysiology

Both Supplementary and Presupplementary Motor Areas Are Crucial for the Temporal Organization of Multiple Movements

Keisetsu Shima, Jun Tanji


Shima, Keisetsu and Jun Tanji. Both supplementary and presupplementary motor areas are crucial for the temporal organization of multiple movements. J. Neurophysiol. 80: 3247–3260, 1998. To study the involvement of the supplementary (SMA) and presupplementary (pre-SMA) motor areas in performing sequential multiple movements that are individually separated in time, we injected muscimol, a γ-aminobutyric acid agonist, bilaterally into the part of each area that represents the forelimb. Two monkeys were trained to perform three different movements, separated by a waiting time, in four or six different orders. First, each series of movements was learned during five trials guided by visual signals that indicated the correct movements. The monkeys subsequently executed the three movements in the memorized order, without the visual signals. After the injection of muscimol (3 μl, 5 μg/μl in 10 min) into either the SMA or pre-SMA bilaterally, the animals started making errors in performing the sequence of movements correctly from memory. However, when guided with a visual signal, they could select and perform the three movements correctly. The impaired memory-based sequencing of movements worsened progressively with time until the animals could not perform the task. Yet they still could associate the visual signals with the different movements at that stage. In control experiments on two separate monkeys, we found that injections of the same amount of muscimol into either the SMA or pre-SMA did not cause problems with nonsequential reaching movement regardless of whether it was visually triggered or self-initiated. These results support the view that both the SMA and pre-SMA are crucially involved in sequencing multiple movements over time.


  • Address for reprint requests: J. Tanji, Dept. of Physiology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, 980, Japan.

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