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Exp Brain Res. 1994;102(1):110-20.

Eye movement disorders after frontal eye field lesions in humans.

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Laboratoire INSERM 289, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


Eye movements were recorded electro-oculographically in three patients with a small ischemic lesion affecting the left frontal eye field (FEF) and in 12 control subjects. Reflexive visually guided saccades (gap and overlap tasks), antisaccades, predictive saccades, memory-guided saccades, smooth pursuit and optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) were studied in the three patients. Staircase saccades and double step saccades were also studied in one of the three patients. For both leftward and rightward saccades, latency in the overlap task (but not in the gap task) and that of correct antisaccades and of memory-guided saccades was significantly increased, compared with the results of controls. There was a significant decrease in the amplitude gain of all rightward saccades programmed using retinotopic coordinates (gap and overlap tasks, predictive and memory-guided saccades), whereas the amplitude gain of corresponding leftward saccades was preserved. Such an asymmetry between leftward and rightward saccades was significant. In the staircase paradigm as well as for the first saccade in the double step paradigm (with the use of retinotopic coordinates in both cases), the amplitude gain of rightward saccades was also significantly lower than that of leftward saccades. Moreover, in the double step paradigm, the amplitude gain of the first rightward saccade was significantly lower than that of the second rightward saccade (programmed using extraretinal signals), which was preserved. The percentage of errors in the antisaccade task did not differ significantly from that of normal subjects. In the predictive saccade paradigm, the percentage of predictive rightward saccades was significantly decreased. The left smooth pursuit gain for all tested velocities, the right smooth pursuit gain for higher velocities, and the left OKN gain were significantly decreased. The results show, for the first time in humans, that the FEF plays an important role in (1) the disengagement from central fixation, (2) the control of contralateral saccades programmed using retinotopic coordinates, (3) saccade prediction and (4) the control of smooth pursuit and OKN, mainly ipsilaterally. In contrast, the left FEF did not appear to be crucial for the control of the only type of saccades programmed using extraretinal signals studied here.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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