Research Topic

The Role of Primary Motor Cortex as a Marker for and Modulator of Pain Control and Emotional-affective Processing

About this Research Topic

More than 60 years have passed since Wilder Penfield applied cortical electrical stimulation to define what has become one of the landmarks on neuroscience: a map of the primary motor cortex (M1 - cortical homunculus). Ever since, development of new tools to investigate brain function noninvasively increased ...

More than 60 years have passed since Wilder Penfield applied cortical electrical stimulation to define what has become one of the landmarks on neuroscience: a map of the primary motor cortex (M1 - cortical homunculus). Ever since, development of new tools to investigate brain function noninvasively increased knowledge about the structure and functions of the M1 in both humans and animals.

Especially for studies in humans, noninvasive tools have a special importance, because they allowed partially replicating Penfield's work noninvasively, by means of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS); or the concomitant study of the structure and function of the brain by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This development also allowed an understanding of the relationship between the motor cortex and other non-motor brain areas, such as those involved in cognition, pain and mood processing.

By understanding how M1 modulates distant neural structures and its relationship with respective brain behavior, M1 can also be used as a potential marker for clinical applications, and also to guide neuromodulatory therapeutic options. It is known, for instance, that M1 has connections with several areas of the brain, and the stimulation of motor cortex can induce changes in other systems, as it has been already demonstrated by the unraveling of several cortico-striatal-thalamo-cortical loops (CSTC).

This research topic welcomes articles concerned with the relationship between M1 and behavior, namely those related to pain and emotional-affective processing. We are interested in both theoretical and empirical contributions related to electrophysiological, pharmacological, neuroimaging and neuromodulatory studies.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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