|Institution:||Università di Bologna|
|Full text PDF:||http://amsdottorato.unibo.it/6756/1/DalBo'_Giulia_tesi.pdf|
The present work takes into account three posterior parietal areas, V6, V6A, and PEc, all operating on different subsets of signals (visual, somatic, motor). The work focuses on the study of their functional properties, to better understand their respective contribution in the neuronal circuits that make possible the interactions between subject and external environment. In the caudalmost pole of parietal lobe there is area V6. Functional data suggest that this area is related to the encoding of both objects motion and ego-motion. However, the sensitivity of V6 neurons to optic flow stimulations has been tested only in human fMRI experiments. Here we addressed this issue by applying on monkey the same experimental protocol used in human studies. The visual stimulation obtained with the Flow Fields stimulus was the most effective and powerful to activate area V6 in monkey, further strengthening this homology between the two primates. The neighboring areas, V6A and PEc, show different cytoarchitecture and connectivity profiles, but are both involved in the control of reaches. We studied the sensory responses present in these areas, and directly compared these.. We also studied the motor related discharges of PEc neurons during reaching movements in 3D space comparing also the direction and depth tuning of PEc cells with those of V6A. The results show that area PEc and V6A share several functional properties. Area PEc, unlike V6A, contains a richer and more complex somatosensory input, and a poorer, although complex visual one. Differences emerged also comparing the motor-related properties for reaches in depth: the incidence of depth modulations in PEc and the temporal pattern of modulation for depth and direction allow to delineate a trend among the two parietal visuomotor areas.