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Corticospinal mirror neurons

Kraskov, A; Philipp, R; Waldert, S; Vigneswaran, G; Quallo, MM; Lemon, RN; (2014) Corticospinal mirror neurons. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci , 369 (1644) , Article 20130174. 10.1098/rstb.2013.0174. Green open access

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Abstract

Here, we report the properties of neurons with mirror-like characteristics that were identified as pyramidal tract neurons (PTNs) and recorded in the ventral premotor cortex (area F5) and primary motor cortex (M1) of three macaque monkeys. We analysed the neurons' discharge while the monkeys performed active grasp of either food or an object, and also while they observed an experimenter carrying out a similar range of grasps. A considerable proportion of tested PTNs showed clear mirror-like properties (52% F5 and 58% M1). Some PTNs exhibited 'classical' mirror neuron properties, increasing activity for both execution and observation, while others decreased their discharge during observation ('suppression mirror-neurons'). These experiments not only demonstrate the existence of PTNs as mirror neurons in M1, but also reveal some interesting differences between M1 and F5 mirror PTNs. Although observation-related changes in the discharge of PTNs must reach the spinal cord and will include some direct projections to motoneurons supplying grasping muscles, there was no EMG activity in these muscles during action observation. We suggest that the mirror neuron system is involved in the withholding of unwanted movement during action observation. Mirror neurons are differentially recruited in the behaviour that switches rapidly between making your own movements and observing those of others.

Type: Article
Title: Corticospinal mirror neurons
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0174
Publisher version: http:dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0174
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: corticospinal system, grasp, hand, mirror neuron, motor cortex
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Department of Neuromuscular Diseases
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1428531
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