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Exp Brain Res. 1988;69(2):399-406.

Eye-head coupling in humans. I. Simultaneous recording of isolated motor units in dorsal neck muscles and horizontal eye movements.

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Département de Réeducation, Clinique de Rhumatologie, Paris, France.


A tonic coupling between the horizontal component of eye position and dorsal neck muscle activity has been demonstrated in the cat and monkey. In order to demonstrate this synergy in humans and study its characteristics, we have measured the relation between the firing rate of individual motor unit of the splenius muscle and voluntary horizontal shifts of gaze using 5 degrees steps, in head-fixed subjects. Eye movement recording was achieved by conventional binocular electro-oculography and the activity of the right splenius muscle was recorded with Bronks coaxial bipolar electrodes inserted manually at the C4-C5 intervertebral level. The activity of 51 motor units in 10 subjects has been recorded. For all subjects, motor units firing rate increased when the gaze shifted to the ipsilateral side, and both increase in firing rate and recruitment were observed. These results demonstrate that the tonic eye head synergy is also present in man.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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