The purpose of this study was to identify the functional fields activated in relation to the self-paced proximal and distal arm movements. The regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured with positron emission tomography (PET) and 15O-labelled H2O (H215O) in eight healthy subjects. All subjects performed the following three tasks: (1) repetitive opposition of thumb and index finger of the right hand, (2) repetitive co-contraction of biceps and triceps brachii muscles of the right arm, and (3) rest. The mean rCBF change images for each task minus control was calculated and fields of significant rCBF changes were identified. Each movement activated different fields in the primary motor area (MI), the dorsal aspect of the premotor area (PMA) and the superior part of the prefrontal area (PFA) of the contralateral hemisphere. In these areas, arm fields were located relatively dorsally to the finger fields. In addition, specific fields in the ventral part of the PMA, the supplementary motor area (SMA), the superior parietal lobule (SPL) of the contralateral hemisphere, and the ipsilateral PFA were consistently activated during both movements. Due to a limited field of view of the PET scanner in the axial direction, the PET scan could not cover the cerebellum. The results indicate that there may be somatotopical organization not only in the MI but also in the dorsal part of the PMA and the PFA, and that the specific fields in the ventral part of the PMA, the SMA, the SPL, and the PFA may be involved in self-paced movement.
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