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J Neurophysiol. 1996 Nov;76(5):3360-81.

Site and parameters of microstimulation: evidence for independent effects on the properties of saccades evoked from the primate superior colliculus.

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Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Bowman Gray School of Medicine/Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157, USA.


1. Microstimulation is used to investigate how activity in the superior colliculus (SC) contributes to determining the properties of primate saccadic eye movements. The site of collicular stimulation, the duration of the stimulation train, and the frequency of the stimulation train are each varied to examine the relative contributions of the locus, duration, and level of collicular activity to determining saccade amplitude, direction, duration, and velocity. 2. For any given site of stimulation, a relationship between movement amplitude and train duration can be demonstrated. Movement amplitude is a monotonically increasing, but saturating, function of increasing train duration. The size of the largest movement is dictated by the site of stimulation. Within the range over which amplitude can be modulated, movement offset is linked to the offset of the stimulation train. As a result, each decrement or increment in train duration produces a corresponding decrement or increment in movement duration. 3. The peak velocity of an evoked movement is influenced by the frequency of stimulation; a higher frequency of stimulation produces a movement of higher velocity. 4. The effects of train duration and frequency can be traded to produce movements that have comparable amplitudes but different dynamic characteristics; high-velocity movements of short duration and low-velocity movements of long duration can be produced by stimulating with high-frequency, short-duration, and low-frequency, long-duration trains, respectively. Across stimulation frequencies, the amplitude of an evoked movement is best related to the total number of pulses in the stimulation train. 5. Because it is possible to compensate for reduced velocity by increasing the duration of the stimulation train, the same site-specific maximum amplitude can be attained with different frequencies of stimulation. 6. Small, but significant, changes in movement direction occur as a result of varying train duration or train frequency. 7. The latency to movement onset (i.e., interval from stimulation onset to movement onset) depends upon the frequency of stimulation. A higher frequency of stimulation produces a movement of shorter latency. 8. These data demonstrate that both the site of stimulation and the parameters of stimulation contribute to determining the properties of a movement evoked from the primate SC. In doing so, they contradict the results of early microstimulation studies that suggest that the properties of eye movements evoked from the primate SC are determined solely by the site of stimulation. The findings conflict with the traditional view of collicular function that suggests that the collicular motor representation is purely anatomic. Rather, these data support a revised view whereby the locus, duration, and level of collicular activity contribute to determining the properties of a primate saccadic eye movement. According to this view, independent information relating to desired displacement and saccade velocity are extracted from the spatiotemporal profile of collicular activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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