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J Neurophysiol. 1994 Jun;71(6):2305-24.

Neural activity in cortical area MST of alert monkey during ocular following responses.

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Neuroscience Section, Electrotechnical Laboratory, Ibaraki, Japan.


1. We studied response properties of neurons in the superior temporal sulcus (STS) of behaving monkeys that discharged during brief, sudden movements of a large-field visual stimulus, eliciting ocular following. Most neurons responded to movements of a large-field visual stimulus with directional selectivity, preferring high stimulus speeds. Neurons were mostly recorded in the medial superior temporal area (MST) (187/250) and the middle temporal area (MT) (57/250). Further response properties were studied in the MST neurons. 2. Response latencies were measured when a large-field random dot pattern was moved in the preferred direction and preferred speed for each neuron. Eighty percent (120/150) of the neurons were activated < 50 ms after the onset of the stimulus motion. In most cases (89%, 134/150), increased firing rates started before the eye movements, with 59% (88/150) starting > 10 ms before the eye movements. 3. The relationship between the latency of neuronal responses and that of eye movements was studied in 59 neurons by changing the stimulus speed systematically (10-160 degrees/s). The latencies of both neuronal and ocular responses decreased as stimulus speed increased. As a result, the time difference between the response latencies for neuronal and ocular responses varied little with changes in stimulus speed. 4. Blurring of the random dot pattern, by interposing a sheet of ground glass, increased the latency of both neuronal responses and eye movements. 5. With the use of a check pattern instead of random dots, both neuronal and ocular responses began to decrease rapidly when the temporal frequency of the visual stimulus exceeded 20 Hz. At 40 Hz the neurons showed a distinctive burst-and-pause firing pattern, and the eye movements showed signs of oscillation. 6. The response properties of the MST neurons during ocular following were similar to those of the dorsolateral pontine nucleus (DLPN) neurons, reported previously. Our results indicate that the MST neurons may provide visual information to the DLPN neurons and may play a role in eliciting ocular following. 7. Responses during smooth-pursuit eye movement were studied in 55 MST neurons. Each of these neurons responded to the moving large-field visual stimulus, which elicited ocular following, and 40 of these neurons were activated during smooth pursuit in the dark. Response latencies during smooth pursuit were long in those neurons having different directional preferences during smooth pursuit and ocular following but were short for those having the same directional preferences during smooth pursuit and ocular following.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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