In the scope of the research project 347/18 - Driving synaptic plasticity in motor-to-visual neural pathways to enhance action prediction,supported by the BIAL Foundation, the research team led by Alessio Avenanti published the paper Transcranial magnetic stimulation over the human medial posterior parietal cortex disrupts depth encoding during reach planning in the journal Cerebral Cortex.
“Accumulating evidence supports the view that the medial part of the posterior parietal cortex (mPPC) is involved in the planning of reaching, but while plenty of studies investigated reaching performed toward different directions, only a few studied different depths. Here, we investigated the causal role of mPPC (putatively, human area V6A–hV6A) in encoding depth and direction of reaching. Specifically, we applied single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the left hV6A at different time points while 15 participants were planning immediate, visually guided reaching by using different eye-hand configurations. We found that TMS delivered over hV6A 200 ms after the Go signal affected the encoding of the depth of reaching by decreasing the accuracy of movements toward targets located farther with respect to the gazed position, but only when they were also far from the body. The effectiveness of both retinotopic (farther with respect to the gaze) and spatial position (far from the body) is in agreement with the presence in the monkey V6A of neurons employing either retinotopic, spatial, or mixed reference frames during reach plan. This work provides the first causal evidence of the critical role of hV6A in the planning of visually guided reaching movements in depth.”