Sensitivity of cortical movement representations to motor experience: evidence that skill learning but not strength training induces cortical reorganization

Michael S. Remple, Rochelle M. Bruneau, Penny M. VandenBerg, Crystal Goertzen, Jeffrey Kleim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

226 Scopus citations

Abstract

The topography of forelimb movement representations within the rat motor cortex was examined following forelimb strength training. Adult male rats were allocated to either a Power Reaching, Control Reaching or Non-Reaching Condition. Power Reaching rats were trained to grasp and break progressively larger bundles of dried pasta strands with their preferred forelimb. Control Reaching animals were trained to break a single pasta strand and Non-Reaching animals were not trained. Power Reaching animals exhibited a progressive increase in the maximal size of the pasta bundle that could be retrieved during a 30-day training period. Kinematic analyses showed that this improvement was not due to a change in reaching strategy. Intracortical microelectrode stimulation was used to derive maps of forelimb movement representations within the motor cortex of all animals following training. In comparison to Non-Reaching animals, both Power Reaching and Control Reaching animals exhibited a significant increase in the proportion of motor cortex occupied by distal forelimb movement representations (wrist/digit) and a decrease in the proportion of proximal representations (elbow/shoulder). These results demonstrate that the development of skilled forelimb movements, but not increased forelimb strength, was associated with a reorganization of forelimb movement representations within motor cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume123
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 14 2001
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Experience
  • Intracortical microstimulation
  • Motor cortex
  • Motor skill
  • Plasticity
  • Rat
  • Strength training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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