Neuroanatomical studies have demonstrated extensive interconnections between the motor cortex, red nucleus and cerebellum, forming a premotor network for controlling limb movement. Single-unit studies indicate that command signals for limb movements are distributed broadly throughout this network. Cellular studies have demonstrated multiple recurrent loops in this network, and the presence of excitatory and inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitters. A recent model suggests that movement commands are initiated by sensory inputs to these loops, and that positive feedback, regulated by inhibition from cerebellar Purkinje cells, distributes commands throughout the limb premotor network. This model offers a new framework for exploring relationships between basic neural mechanisms and concepts of motor performance that derive from experimental psychology.
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