Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wallace, Douglas G.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Fine motor control is a beneficial adaptation animals have developed. This ability allows animals to traverse difficult terrain, manipulate food, build shelter, and handle tools. Loss of fine motor control occurs in half of patients that survive stroke, a devastating neurological event affecting 15 million people annually. While many patients experience spontaneous recovery in the first month following stroke, about half of stroke survivors remain permanently disabled. Though medical advancements have increased survival rates, stroke remains a leading and rising cause of disability. There has been only one pharmaceutical intervention made available to patients in the last twenty five years. To evaluate emerging therapeutics, a comprehensive understanding of the neurobiology of fine motor control in both females and males is needed, as previous work has largely focused on male subjects. Though many neural regions contribute to movement, fine motor control is characterized by higher-order cortical functions such as voluntary sequential movements and spatial estimation. Impairments resulting from damage to the sensorimotor and posterior parietal cortices demonstrate the contributions of these areas to fine motor control. These regions are traditionally described to individually contribute to movement and spatial processing, respectively. However, fine motor control integrates these abilities to produce spatially directed precise movements. The current study investigated the contributions of the sensorimotor and posterior parietal cortices to fine motor control. Female and male mice received either a sensorimotor or posterior parietal unilateral pial strip or sham lesion and were evaluated in string-pulling and rung walking at several timepoints over the course of one month to assess various aspects of fine motor control. Posterior parietal devascularization impacted motivational or locomotor characteristics of movement, while sensorimotor devascularization affected directional features of movement. Devascularization to both cortical regions impacted fine motor accuracy; however, sensorimotor devascularization spared the use of compensational strategies. This study provides a novel approach to evaluate fine motor control in mice. These behavioral techniques may be used to evaluate future therapeutics developed to alleviate impairments of fine motor control experienced by stroke patients.


255 pages




Northern Illinois University

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