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J Neurophysiol. 1998 Apr;79(4):2097-110.

Reversible inactivation of monkey superior colliculus. II. Maps of saccadic deficits.

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Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4435, USA.


Neurons in the superior colliculus (SC) are organized as maps of visual and motor space. The companion paper showed that muscimol injections into intermediate layers of the SC alter the trajectory of the movement and confirmed previously reported effects on latency, amplitude, and speed of saccades. In this paper we analyze the pattern of these deficits across the visual field by systematically comparing the magnitude of each deficit throughout a grid of targets covering a large fraction of the visual field. We also translate these deficits onto the SC map of the visual/movement fields to obtain a qualitative estimate of the extent of the deficit in the SC. We found a consistent pattern of substantially increased saccadic latency to targets in the contralateral visual hemifield, accompanied by slight and inconsistent increases and decreases for saccades to the ipsilateral hemifield. The initial and peak speed of saccades was reduced after the injection. The postinjection amplitude of the saccades were either hypometric or normometric, but rarely hypermetric. Although errors in the initial direction of the postinjection saccades were small, they consistently formed a simple pattern: an initial direction with minimal errors (a null direction) separating regions with clockwise and counterclockwise rotations of the initial direction. However, the null direction did not go through the center of the inactivated zone, as would be expected if the SC alone were determining saccade direction, e.g., with a population code. One hypothesis that can explain the misalignment of the null direction with the lesion site is that another system, acting in parallel with the SC, contributes to the determination of saccadic trajectory.

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