Cortical Networks for Control of Voluntary Arm Movements Under Variable Force Conditions
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A neural model of voluntary movement and proprioception functionally interprets and simulates cell types in movement related areas of primate cortex. The model circuit maintains accurate proprioception while controlling voluntary reaches to spatial targets, exertion of force against obstacles, posture maintenance despite perturbations, compliance with an imposed movement, and static and inertial load compensations. Computer simulations show that model cell properties mimic cell properties in areas 4 and 5. These include delay period activation, response profiles during movement, kinematic and kinetic sensitivities, and latency of activity onset. Model area 4 phasic and tonic cells compute velocity and position commands which activate alpha and gamma motor neurons, thereby shifting the mechanical equilibrium point. Anterior area 5 cells compute limb position using corollary discharges from area 4 and muscle spindle feedback. Posterior area 5 cells use the perceived position and target position signals to compute a desired movement vector. The cortical loop is closed by a volition-gated projection of this movement vector to area 4 phasic cells. Phasic-tonic cells in area 4 incorporate force command components to compensate for static and inertial loads. Predictions are made for both motor and parietal cell types under novel experimental protocols.