Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Parietofrontal pathways play an important role in visually guided motor control. In this pathway, hand manipulation-related neurons in the inferior parietal lobule represent 3-D properties of an object and motor patterns to grasp it. Furthermore, mirror neurons show visual responses that are concerned with the actions of others and motor-related activity during execution of the same grasping action. Because both of these categories of neurons integrate visual and motor signals, these neurons may play a role in motor control based on visual feedback signals. The aim of this study was to investigate whether these neurons in inferior parietal lobule including the anterior intraparietal area and PFG of macaques represent visual images of the monkey's own hand during a self-generated grasping action. We recorded 235 neurons related to hand manipulation tasks. Of these, 54 responded to video clips of the monkey's own hand action, the same as visual feedback during that action or clips of the experimenter's hand action in a lateral view. Of these 54 neurons, 25 responded to video clips of the monkey's own hand, even without an image of the target object. We designated these 25 neurons as “hand-type.” Thirty-three of 54 neurons that were defined as mirror neurons showed visual responses to the experimenter's action and motor responses. Thirteen of these mirror neurons were classified as hand-type. These results suggest that activity of hand manipulation-related and mirror neurons in anterior intraparietal/PFG plays a fundamental role in monitoring one's own body state based on visual feedback.