The importance of premotor cortex for supporting speech production after left capsular-putaminal damage

Mohamed L. Seghier, Juliana Bagdasaryan, Dorit E. Jung, Cathy J. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The left putamen is known to be important for speech production, but some patients with left putamen damage can produce speech remarkably well. We investigated the neural mechanisms that support this recovery by using a combination of techniques to identify the neural regions and pathways that compensate for loss of the left putamen during speech production. First, we used fMRI to identify the brain regions that were activated during reading aloud and picture naming in a patient with left putamen damage. This revealed that the patient had abnormally high activity in the left premotor cortex. Second, we used dynamic causal modeling of the patient’s fMRI data to understand how this premotor activity influenced other speech production regions and whether the same neural pathway was used by our 24 neurologically normal control subjects. Third, we validated the compensatory relationship between putamen and premotor cortex by showing, in the control subjects, that lower connectivity through the putamen increased connectivity through premotor cortex. Finally, in a lesion-deficit analysis, we demonstrate the explanatory power of our fMRI results in new patients who had damage to the left putamen, left premotor cortex, or both. Those with damage to both had worse reading and naming scores. The results of our four-pronged approach therefore have clinical implications for predicting which patients are more or less likely to recover their speech after left putaminal damage.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)14338-14348
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number43
StatePublished - 22 Oct 2014


  • Premotor cortex
  • Putamen
  • Reading words
  • Recovery pathways
  • Subcortical stroke


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