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Neuroimage. 2012 Jul 16;61(4):1100-12. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.03.037. Epub 2012 Mar 17.

Functional activation of the cerebral cortex related to sensorimotor adaptation of reactive and voluntary saccades.

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INSERM U1028, CNRS UMR5292, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, ImpAct (Integrative, Multisensory, Perception, Action and Cognition team), Lyon, France.


Potentially dangerous events in the environment evoke automatic ocular responses, called reactive saccades. Adaptation processes, which maintain saccade accuracy against various events (e.g. growth, aging, neuro-muscular lesions), are to date mostly relayed to cerebellar activity. Here we demonstrate that adaptation of reactive saccades also involves cerebral cortical areas. Moreover, we provide the first identification of the neural substrates of adaptation of voluntary saccades, representing the complement to reactive saccades for the active exploration of our environment. An fMRI approach was designed to isolate adaptation from saccade production: an adaptation condition in which the visual target stepped backward 50 ms after saccade termination was compared to a control condition where the same target backstep occurred 500 ms after saccade termination. Subjects were tested for reactive and voluntary saccades in separate sessions. Multi-voxel pattern analyses of fMRI data from previously-defined regions of interests (ROIs) significantly discriminated between adaptation and control conditions for several ROIs. Some of these areas were revealed for adaptation of both saccade categories (cerebellum, frontal cortex), whereas others were specifically related to reactive saccades (temporo-parietal junction, hMT+/V5) or to voluntary saccades (medial and posterior areas of intra-parietal sulcus). These findings critically extend our knowledge on brain motor plasticity by showing that saccadic adaptation relies on a hitherto unknown contribution of the cerebral cortex.

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