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Exp Brain Res. 1989;78(2):253-67.

Saccadic reaction times, eye-arm coordination and spontaneous eye movements in normal and MPTP-treated monkeys.

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1
Institute of Physiology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Abstract

The oculomotor performance of monkeys was investigated before and after destruction of nigrostriatal dopamine neurons by MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine). Stimulus-triggered saccades and their relationships to arm movements were measured in a reaction time task. Spontaneous eye movements were recorded while monkeys sat in a primate chair and looked around the laboratory without performing any task. In the reaction time task, saccades and arm movements were commonly triggered by the rapid, visible and audible opening of a small food-containing box which was located at a constant position in front of the animal at eye level. Median saccadic latencies ranged from 68 to 118 ms in intact animals. Saccades were followed by onset of electromyographic (EMG) activity in the extensor digitorum communis and the biceps brachii, the prime mover muscles for the following arm reaching movement. Latencies of stimulus-triggered saccades showed an absence of linear relationship to EMG or arm movement reaction time in intact animals (correlation coefficients of 0.15-0.56). This suggests that eye and arm movements were initiated independently from each other in this experimental situation. Treatment with MPTP resulted in 98-99.5% loss of striatal dopamine in both monkeys. This induced a 29-93% increase in saccadic latency in the reaction time task. The sequential occurrence of saccade, EMG activity and arm movement in each trial was preserved, although intervals between onset of saccades and onsets of EMGs and arm movements were prolonged by 53-173% and 33-679% respectively. Onsets of individual saccades remained uncorrelated with onsets of EMG activity or arm movement. Spontaneous eye movements were strongly reduced in frequency and amplitude after MPTP. Administration of the dopamine precursor L-Dopa increased spontaneous eye movements for less than two hours. The severe deficits in stimulus-triggered and spontaneous saccadic eye movements are oculomotor components of hypokinesia arising after MPTP-induced lesions of the nigrostriatal dopamine system in primates. The data are further evidence for a role of midbrain dopamine neurons in behavioral responsiveness and spontaneous activity.

PMID:
2599036
DOI:
10.1007/bf00228897
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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