Activity of primate magnocellular red nucleus related to hand and finger movements

J. C. Houk*, A. R. Gibson, C. F. Harvey, P. R. Kennedy, P. L.E. van Kan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Single cells were recorded in the magnocellular red nucleus (RNm) of two cynomolgus monkeys using tungsten microelectrodes. The first monkey was trained to press finger switches and to operate a push-pull device. Comparison of responses while operating the two devices demonstrated a strong distal bias. The finger device elicited large modulations in discharge (≥50 impulses/s) in 75% of the sampled neurons. Most cells fired optimally during thumb switch operation, but also fired vigorously in association with other switch operations. The left motor cortex was removed from the second monkey 18 months prior to microelectrode recording. Cells in the cortically denervated RNm discharged vigorously in association with grouped finger movements that opened and closed the affected right hand. These results coupled with our previous findings suggest that the RNm is preferentially linked to distal limb muscles, and the primary role of the forelimb zone may be to control coordinated hand function including grouped movements of the fingers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-206
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1988


  • Hand Hand/finger movement
  • Microelectrode
  • Motor control
  • Primate
  • Red nucleus
  • Rubrospinal tract
  • Single unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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