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Brain Struct Funct. 2015 Mar;220(2):763-79. doi: 10.1007/s00429-013-0682-8. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

Orienting movements in area 9 identified by long-train ICMS.

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Section of Physiology and Neuroscience, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Metabolic and Neuroscience, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41125, Modena, Italy,


The effect of intracortical microstimulation has been studied in several cortical areas from motor to sensory areas. The frontal pole has received particular attention, and several microstimulation studies have been conducted in the frontal eye field, supplementary eye field, and the premotor ear-eye field, but no microstimulation studies concerning area 9 are currently available in the literature. In the present study, to fill up this gap, electrical microstimulation was applied to area 9 in two macaque monkeys using long-train pulses of 500-700-800 and 1,000 ms, during two different experimental conditions: a spontaneous condition, while the animals were not actively fixating on a visual target, and during a visual fixation task. In these experiments, we identified backward ear movements, goal-directed eye movements, and the development of head forces. Kinematic parameters for ear and eye movements overlapped in the spontaneous condition, but they were different during the visual fixation task. In this condition, ear and eye kinematics have an opposite behavior: movement amplitude, duration, and maximal and mean velocities increase during a visual fixation task for the ear, while they decrease for the eye. Therefore, a top-down visual attention engagement could modify the kinematic parameters for these two effectors. Stimulation with the longest train durations, i.e., 800/1,000 ms, evokes not only the highest eye amplitude, but also a significant development of head forces. In this research article, we propose a new vision of the frontal oculomotor fields, speculating a role for area 9 in the control of goal-directed orienting behaviors and gaze shift control.

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