What is "mirror" in the premotor cortex? A review

Institut Jean-Nicod, UMR 8129, EHESS, CNRS, département d'études cognitives, Ecole normale supérieure, 29 rue d'Ulm, Paris, France.
Neurophysiologie Clinique/Clinical Neurophysiology (Impact Factor: 1.24). 07/2008; 38(3):189-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.neucli.2008.02.005
Source: PubMed


We review the findings of 24 fMRI studies examining activations in the premotor cortex (Brodmann's areas 6 and 44) during passive observation of actions. We found that such activations regularly occurred. Looking for functional differentiation in the premotor cortex, we found that one parameter was associated with systematic differences in location: this was the presence or absence of targets. Observing biological actions with a physical target, compared to a visual control showing no action at all, consistently activated the ventral premotor cortex (BA 6), and did so significantly more than observing target-less actions (with the same control). In contrast, the activity in BA 44 ("Broca's area") was not modulated by the presence or absence of targets. We propose that the ventral precentral gyrus, and not BA 44, shares the visual properties of "mirror" neurons found in area F5 of the macaque brain.

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Available from: Julie Grèzes, Jul 30, 2014
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    • "To reduce the complexity and size of the model space (Lohmann et al. 2012), we selected the 4 ROIs based on the above contrast (DLPFC, IFG, pre-SMA, and SMG). Previous studies suggested that precentral gyrus is not crucial for emotion regulation processes but implicated in goal-directed action observation (Grèzes and Decety 2001; Perani et al. 2001; Morin and Grèzes 2008); thus, this region was excluded for the following analyses. The remaining functional ROIs were masked with anatomical ROIs taken from the WFU Pick Atlas toolbox (version 3.0) (Maldjian et al. 2003) to assure their belonging to a given anatomical region (DLPFC: x = −53, y = 20, z = 24; IFG: x = −44, y = 25, z = −7; pre-SMA: x = −6, y = 9, z = 60; SMG: x = −57, y = −45, z = 29). "
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    ABSTRACT: Reappraisal, the cognitive reevaluation of a potentially emotionally arousing event, has been proposed to be based upon top-down appraisal systems within the prefrontal cortex (PFC). It still remains unclear, however, how different prefrontal regions interact to control and regulate emotional responses. We used fMRI and dynamic causal modeling (DCM) to characterize the functional interrelationships among dorsal and ventral PFC regions involved in reappraisal. Specifically, we examined the effective connectivity between the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC), and other reappraisal-related regions (supplementary motor area, supramarginal gyrus) during the up- and downregulation of emotions in response to highly arousing extreme sports film clips. We found DLPFC to be the central node of the prefrontal emotion regulation network, strongly interconnected with the IFG. The DCM analysis further revealed excitatory changes of connection strength from the DLPFC to the IFG and strong inhibitory changes of connection strength between the IFG and DLPFC during reappraisal. These bidirectional changes in connectivity strength indicate a feedback mechanism by which the IFG may select one out of several possible goal-appropriate reappraisals held active in working memory (represented in the DLPFC) and inhibits the DLPFC once the selection process is completed.
    Cerebral Cortex 01/2015; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhv005 · 8.67 Impact Factor
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    • "From the anatomical point of view, the debate revolves around trying to establish the appropriate homology of human Broca's area with other areas of the non-human primate brain based on cytoarchitectonic characteristics, particularly with area F5 in the ventral premotor cortex of the macaque brain, where mirror neurons were originally described [Gallese et al., 1996]. There is, however, no definitive consensus and the question remains extremely confused , with multiple and often contradictory interpretations of new and old data [de Zubicaray et al., 2010; Morin and Grezes, 2008; Nelissen et al., 2005; Petrides and Pandya, 2001; Petrides et al., 2005; Press et al., 2012; Toni et al., 2008]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mirror neurons, originally described in the monkey premotor area F5, are embedded in a frontoparietal network for action execution and observation. A similar Mirror Neuron System (MNS) exists in humans, including precentral gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, and superior temporal sulcus. Controversial is the inclusion of Broca's area, as homologous to F5, a relevant issue in light of the mirror hypothesis of language evolution, which postulates a key role of Broca's area in action/speech perception/production. We assess “mirror” properties of this area by combining neuroimaging and intraoperative neurophysiological techniques. Our results show that Broca's area is minimally involved in action observation and has no motor output on hand or phonoarticulatory muscles, challenging its inclusion in the MNS. The presence of these functions in premotor BA6 makes this area the likely homologue of F5 suggesting that the MNS may be involved in the representation of articulatory rather than semantic components of speech. Hum Brain Mapp, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 10/2014; 36(3). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22682 · 5.97 Impact Factor
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    • "In more detail, previous research indicated that activation evoked by movement observation may potentially be reduced when the movement is simple (Biagi et al., 2010), does not involve objects (Buccino et al., 2001; Morin and Grezes, 2008), and when the instruction does not stress that the movements are supposed to be imitated after having been watched (Frey and Gerry, 2006) (but see Caspers et al., 2010). Thus, by using other actions and instructions we may have had observed stronger activation of the sensorimotor system, potentially resulting in a better resemblance of Execution. "

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