Transcranial magnetic stimulation and preparation of visually-guided reaching movements

Pierpaolo Busan, Marco Zanon, Federica Vinciati, Fabrizio Monti, Gilberto Pizzolato, Piero P. Battaglini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To better define the neural networks related to preparation of reaching, we applied transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the lateral parietal and frontal cortex. TMS did not evoke effects closely related to preparation of reaching, suggesting that neural networks already identified by our group are not larger than previously thought. We also replicated previous TMS/EEG data by applying TMS to the parietal cortex: new analyses were performed to better support reliability of already reported findings (Zanon et al., 2010; Brain Topography 22, 307-317). We showed the existence of neural circuits ranging from posterior to frontal regions of the brain after the stimulation of parietal cortex, supporting the idea of strong connections among these areas and suggesting their possible temporal dynamic. Connection with ventral stream was confirmed. The present work helps to define those areas which are involved in preparation of natural reaching in humans. They correspond to parieto-occipital, parietal and premotor medial regions of the left hemisphere, i.e., the contralateral one with respect to the moving hand, as suggested by previous studies. Behavioral data support the existence of a discrete stream involved in reaching. Besides the serial flow of activation from posterior to anterior direction, a parallel elaboration of information among parietal and premotor areas seems also to exist. Present cortico-cortical interactions (TMS/EEG experiment) show propagation of activity to frontal, temporal, parietal and more posterior regions, exhibiting distributed communication among various areas in the brain. The neural system highlighted by TMS/EEG experiments is wider with respect to the one disclosed by the TMS behavioral approach. Further studies are needed to unravel this paucity of overlap. Moreover, the understanding of these mechanisms is crucial for the comprehension of response inhibition and changes in prepared actions, which are common behaviors in everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Neuroengineering
Issue numberAUGUST
Publication statusPublished - Aug 8 2012


  • Movement execution
  • Parietal cortex
  • Premotor cortex
  • Reaching
  • TMS/EEG co-registration
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biophysics
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)


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