Effects of inactivation of the anterior interpositus nucleus on the kinematic and dynamic control of multijoint movement

Scott E. Cooper, John H. Martin, Claude Ghez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We previously showed that inactivating the anterior interpositus nucleus in cats disrupts prehension; paw paths, normally straight and accurate, become curved, hypometric, and more variable. In the present study, we determined the joint kinematic and dynamic origins of this impairment. Animals were restrained in a hammock and trained to reach and grasp a cube of meat from a narrow food well at varied heights; movements were monitored using the MacReflex analysis system. The anterior interpositus nucleus was inactivated by microinjection of the GABA agonist muscimol (0.25-0.5 μg in 0.5 μL saline). For each joint, we computed the torque due to gravity, inertial resistance (termed self torque), interjoint interactions (termed interaction torque), and the combined effects of active muscle contraction and passive soft tissue stretch (termed generalized muscle torque). Inactivation produced significant reductions in the amplitude, velocity, and acceleration of elbow flexion. However, these movements continued to scale normally with target height. Shoulder extension was reduced by inactivation but wrist angular displacement and velocity were not. Inactivation also produced changes in the temporal coordination between elbow, shoulder, and wrist kinematics. Dynamic analysis showed that elbow flexion both before and during inactivation was produced by the combined action of muscle and interaction torque, but that the timing depended on muscle torque. Elbow interaction and muscle torques were scaled to target height both before and during inactivation. Inactivation produced significant reductions in elbow flexor interaction and muscle torques. The duration of elbow flexor muscle torque was prolonged to compensate for the reduction in flexor interaction torque. Shoulder extension was produced by extensor interaction and muscle torques both before and during inactivation. Inactivation produced a reduction in shoulder extension, primarily by reduced interaction torque, but without compensation. Wrist plantarflexion, which occurred during elbow flexion, was driven by plantarflexor interaction and gravitational torques both before and during inactivation. Muscle torque acted in the opposite direction with a phase lead to restrain the plantarflexor interaction torque. During inactivation, there was a reduction in plantarflexor interaction torque and a loss of the phase lead of the muscle torque. Our findings implicate the C1/C3 anterior interpositus zone of the cerebellum in the anticipatory control of intersegmental dynamics during reaching, which zone is required for coordinating the motions of the shoulder and wrist with those of the elbow. In contrast, this cerebellar zone does not play a role in scaling the movement to match a target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1988-2000
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


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