Investigating the neuroanatomy underlying proprioception using a stroke model

Matthew J. Chilvers, Rachel L. Hawe, Stephen H. Scott, Sean P. Dukelow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Neuroanatomical investigations have associated cortical areas, beyond Primary Somatosensory Cortex (S1), with impaired proprioception. Cortical regions have included temporoparietal (TP) regions (supramarginal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, Heschl's gyrus) and insula. Previous approaches have struggled to account for concurrent damage across multiple brain regions. Here, we used a targeted lesion analysis approach to examine the impact of specific combinations of cortical and sub-cortical lesions and quantified the prevalence of proprioceptive impairments when different regions are damaged or spared. Seventy-seven individuals with stroke (49 male; 28 female) were identified meeting prespecified lesion criteria based on MRI/CT imaging: 1) TP lesions without S1, 2) TP lesions with S1, 3) isolated S1 lesions, 4) isolated insula lesions, and 5) lesions not impacting these regions (other regions group). Initially, participants meeting these criteria (1–4) were grouped together into right or left lesion groups and compared to each other, and the other regions group (5), on a robotic Arm Position Matching (APM) task and a Kinesthesia (KIN) task. We then examined the behaviour of individuals that met each specific criteria (groups 1–5). Proprioceptive impairments were more prevalent following right hemisphere lesions than left hemisphere lesions. The extent of damage to TP regions correlated with performance on both robotic tasks. Even without concurrent S1 lesions, TP and insular lesions were associated with impairments on the APM and KIN tasks. Finally, lesions not impacting these regions were much less likely to result in impairments. This study highlights the critical importance of TP and insular regions for accurate proprioception. Significance statement: This work advances our understanding of the neuroanatomy of human proprioception. We validate the importance of regions, beyond the dorsal column medial lemniscal pathway and S1, for proprioception. Further, we provide additional evidence of the importance of the right hemisphere for human proprioception. Improved knowledge on the neuroanatomy of proprioception is crucial for advancing therapeutic approaches which target individuals with proprioceptive impairments following neurological injury or with neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120029
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StatePublished - Nov 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating Grant ( MOP 106662 ), a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Grant-in-Aid ( G-13-0003029 ), an Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Team Grant ( 201500788 ) and an Ontario Research Fund grant ( ORF-RE 04-47 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Lateralisation
  • Lesion-analysis
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Proprioception
  • Stroke

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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