The superior colliculus (SC) provides signals for the generation of
saccades via a direct pathway to the brain stem burst generator (BG). In
addition, it sends saccade-related activity to the BG indirectly through the
cerebellum via a relay in the nucleus reticularis tegmenti pontis (NRTP).
Lesions of the oculomotor vermis, lobules VIc and VII, and inactivation of the
caudal fastigial nucleus, the cerebellar output nucleus to which it projects,
produce saccade dysmetria but have little effect on saccade peak velocity and
duration. We expected similar deficits from inactivation of the NRTP. Instead,
injections as small as 80 nl into the NRTP first slowed ipsiversive saccades and
then gradually reduced their amplitudes. Postinjection saccades had slower peak
velocities and longer durations than preinjection saccades with similar
amplitudes. Contraversive saccades retained their normal kinematics. When the
gains of ipsiversive saccades to 10° target steps had fallen to
their lowest values (0.28 ± 0.19; mean ± SD;
n = 10 experiments), the gains of contraversive
saccades to 10° target steps had decreased very little (0.82
± 0.11). Eventually, ipsiversive saccades did not exceed
5°, even to 20° target steps. Moreover, these small
remaining saccades apparently were made with considerable difficulty because
their latencies increased substantially. When ipsiversive saccade gain was at
its lowest, the gain and kinematics of vertical saccades to 10°
target steps exhibited inconsistent changes. We argue that our injections did
not compromise the direct SC pathway. Therefore these data suggest that the
cerebellar saccade pathway does not simply modulate BG activity but is required
for horizontal saccades to occur at all.
Saccade-generating burst neurons (BN) are inhibited by omnipause neurons (OPN), except during saccades. OPN activity pauses before saccade onset and resumes at the saccade end. Microstimulation of OPN stops saccades in mid-flight, which shows that OPN can end saccades. However, OPN pause duration does not correlate well with saccade duration, and saccades are normometric after OPN lesions. We tested whether OPN were responsible for stopping saccades both in late-onset Tay–Sachs, which causes premature saccadic termination, and in individuals with cerebellar hypermetria. We studied gaze shifts between two targets at different distances aligned on one eye, which consist of a disjunctive saccade followed by vergence. High-frequency conjugate oscillations during the vergence movements that followed saccades were present in all subjects studied, indicating OPN silence. Thus, mechanisms other than OPN discharge (e.g., cerebellar caudal fastigial nucleus–promoting inhibitory BN discharge) must contribute to saccade termination.
Tay–Sachs disease; saccades; omnipause neurons; fastigial nucleus; Müller paradigm
OBJECTIVE--To determine the roles of the putamen and pallidum in ocular motor control. METHODS--Eye movements were recorded electro-oculographically in nine patients with bilateral focal lesions affecting the lentiform nucleus, and in 12 age matched control subjects. Reflexive visually guided saccades (gap task), antisaccades, memorised sequences of saccades, memory guided saccades (with visual input only, and with both visual and vestibular inputs), and predictive saccades (with and without gap) were studied. RESULTS--Latency and accuracy of visually guided saccades were normal. The percentage of errors in the antisaccade task and latency of correct antisaccades did not differ significantly from the results of controls. The percentage of errors in saccade sequences was significantly increased. Accuracy of the two types of memory guided saccades was impaired bilaterally. The percentage of predictive saccades was significantly decreased when a gap existed, but unchanged without a gap, compared with controls. Therefore, saccades made immediately in response to an external target (reflexive visually guided saccades and antisaccades) were performed without difficulty, whereas those requiring an internal representation of such a target (such as memory guided saccades, predictive saccades, and saccade sequences) were performed with significant disturbances. CONCLUSIONS--The lentiform nucleus influences the cortical areas involved in the control of saccades when the experimental paradigm requires the use of an internal representation of the target for correct planning and execution of the ensuing saccade.
Studying saccades can illuminate the more complex decision-making processes required for everyday movements. The double-step task, in which a target jumps to two successive locations before the subject has time to react, has proven a powerful research tool to investigate the brain’s ability to program sequential responses. We asked how patients with a range of cerebellar disorders responded to the double-step task, specifically, whether the initial saccadic response made to a target is affected by the appearance of a second target jump. We also sought to determine whether cerebellar patients were able to make corrective saccades towards the remembered second target location, if it were turned off soon after presentation. We tested saccades to randomly interleaved single- and double-step target jumps to eight locations on a circle. Patient’s initial responses to double-step stimuli showed 50% more error than saccades to single target jumps, and often, they failed to make a saccade to the first target jump. The presence of a second target jump had similar, but smaller effects in control subjects (error increased by 18%). During memory-guided double-step trials, both patients and controls made corrective saccades in darkness to the remembered location of the second jump. We conclude that in cerebellar patients, the second target jump interferes with programming of the saccade to the first target jump of a double-step stimulus; this defect highlights patients’ impaired ability to respond appropriately to sudden, conflicting changes in their environment. Conversely, since cerebellar patients can make corrective memory-guided saccades in darkness, they retain the ability to remember spatial locations, possibly due to non-retinal neural signals (corollary discharge) from cerebral hemispheric areas concerned with spatial localization.
Saccades; double-step; dysmetria; cerebellum, fastigial nucleus; efference copy
Adaptation of saccadic eye movements provides an excellent motor learning model to study theories of neuronal plasticity. When primates make saccades to a jumping target, a backward step of the target during the saccade can make it appear to overshoot. If this deception continues for many trials, saccades gradually decrease in amplitude to go directly to the back-stepped target location. We used this adaptation paradigm to evaluate the Marr-Albus hypothesis that such motor learning occurs at the Purkinje (P-) cell of the cerebellum. We recorded the activity of identified P-cells in the oculomotor vermis, lobules VIc and VII. After determining the on and off error directions of a P-cell’s complex spike activity, we determined whether its saccade-related simple spike (SS) activity changed during saccade adaptation in those two directions. Before adaptation, 57 of 61 P-cells exhibited a clear burst, pause or a combination of both for saccades in one or both directions. Sixty-two percent of all cells, including 2 of the 4 initially unresponsive ones, behaved differently for saccades whose size changed because of adaptation than for saccades of similar sizes gathered before adaptation. In at least 42% of these, the changes were appropriate to decrease saccade amplitude based on our current knowledge of cerebellum and brain stem saccade circuitry. Changes in activity during adaptation were not compensating for the potential fatigue associated with performing many saccades. Therefore, many P-cells in the oculomotor vermis exhibit changes in SS activity specific to adapted saccades and therefore appropriate to induce adaptation.
Saccade; Adaptation; Motor Learning; Purkinje Cell; Primate; plasticity; Cerebellum; Motor Control; Oculomotor
Rapid shifts of the point of visual fixation between equidistant targets require equal-sized saccades of each eye. The brainstem medial longitudinal fasciculus (MLF) plays a cardinal role in ensuring that horizontal saccades between equidistant targets are tightly yoked. Lesions of the MLF—internuclear ophthalmoparesis (INO)—cause horizontal saccades to become disjunctive: adducting saccades are slow, small, or absent. However, in INO, convergence movements may remain intact. We studied horizontal gaze shifts between equidistant targets and between far and near targets aligned on the visual axis of one eye (Müller test paradigm) in five cases of INO and five control subjects. We estimated the saccadic component of each movement by measuring peak velocity and peak acceleration. We tested whether the ratio of the saccadic component of the adducting/abducting eyes stayed constant or changed for the two types of saccades. For saccades made by control subjects between equidistant targets, the group mean ratio (±SD) of adducting/abducting peak velocity was 0.96 ± 0.07 and adducting/abducting peak acceleration was 0.94 ± 0.09. Corresponding ratios for INO cases were 0.45 ± 0.10 for peak velocity and 0.27 ± 0.11 for peak acceleration, reflecting reduced saccadic pulses for adduction. For control subjects, during the Müller paradigm, the adducting/abducting ratio was 1.25 ± 0.14 for peak velocity and 1.03 ± 0.12 for peak acceleration. Corresponding ratios for INO cases were 0.82 ± 0.18 for peak velocity and 0.48 ± 0.13 for peak acceleration. When adducting/abducting ratios during Müller versus equidistant targets paradigms were compared, INO cases showed larger relative increases for both peak velocity and peak acceleration compared with control subjects. Comparison of similar-sized movements during the two test paradigms indicated that whereas INO patients could decrease peak velocity of their abducting eye during the Müller paradigm, they were unable to modulate adducting velocity in response to viewing conditions. However, the initial component of each eye’s movement was similar in both cases, possibly reflecting activation of saccadic burst neurons. These findings support the hypothesis that horizontal saccades are governed by disjunctive signals, preceded by an initial, high-acceleration conjugate transient and followed by a slower vergence component.
Eye movements; Saccades; Vergence; Medial longitudinal fasciculus; Hering’s law; Multiple sclerosis; Internuclear ophthalmoplegia
Saccade accuracy is maintained by adaptive mechanisms that continually modify saccade amplitude to reduce dysmetria. Previous studies suggest that adaptation occurs upstream of the caudal fastigial nucleus (CFN), the output of the oculomotor cerebellar vermis but downstream from the superior colliculus (SC). The nucleus reticularis tegmenti pontis (NRTP) is a major source of afferents to both the oculomotor vermis and the CFN and in turn receives direct input from the SC. Here we examine the activity of NRTP neurons in four rhesus monkeys during behaviorally induced changes in saccade amplitude to assess whether their discharge might reveal adaptation mechanisms that mediate changes in saccade amplitude. During amplitude decrease adaptation (average, 22%), the gradual reduction of saccade amplitude was accompanied by an increase in the number of spikes in the burst of 19/34 neurons (56%) and no change for 15 neurons (44%). For the neurons that increased their discharge, the additional spikes were added at the beginning of the saccadic burst and adaptation also delayed the peak-firing rate in some neurons. Moreover, after amplitude reduction, the movement fields changed shape in all 15 open field neurons tested. Our data show that saccadic amplitude reduction affects the number of spikes in the burst of more than half of NRTP neurons tested, primarily by increasing burst duration not frequency. Therefore adaptive changes in saccade amplitude are reflected already at a major input to the oculomotor cerebellum.
We investigated how saccade target selection by humans and macaque monkeys reacts to unexpected changes of the image. This was explored using double step and search step tasks in which a target, presented alone or as a singleton in a visual search array, steps to a different location on infrequent, random trials. We report that human and macaque monkey performance are qualitatively indistinguishable. Performance is stochastic with the probability of producing a compensated saccade to the final target location decreasing with the delay of the step. Compensated saccades to the final target location are produced with latencies relative to the step that are comparable to or less than the average latency of saccades on trials with no target step. Noncompensated errors to the initial target location are produced with latencies less than the average latency of saccades on trials with no target step. Noncompensated saccades to the initial target location are followed by corrective saccades to the final target location following an intersaccade interval that decreases with the interval between the target step and the initiation of the noncompensated saccade. We show that this pattern of results cannot be accounted for by a race between two stochastically independent processes producing the saccade to the initial target location and another process producing the saccade to the final target location. However, performance can be accounted for by a race between three stochastically independent processes – a GO process producing the saccade to the initial target location, a STOP process interrupting that GO process, and another GO process producing the saccade to the final target location. Furthermore, if the STOP process and second GO process start at the same time, then the model can account for the incidence and latency of mid-flight corrections and rapid corrective saccades. This model provides a computational account of saccade production when the image changes unexpectedly.
saccade; race model; latency; double step; search step; decision making
Saccades under four specific test conditions (visually guided, visually remembered, vestibular remembered, and cervical remembered) were studied in a 38 year old man with ocular dysmetria due to an angioma of the dorsal cerebellar vermis. The aim of the study was to investigate if the saccadic disorder was specific to certain subsets of saccades elicited by different sensory modalities. The experiments showed that initial saccades were equally hypermetric in all four conditions and that final eye position was normal in all memory guided saccade tests. Eye movements differed after the initial saccade, however. Whereas corrective saccades were seen in most visually guided and visually remembered experiments, postsaccadic centripetal drifts were documented in non-visual (vestibular and cervical) remembered saccades. These results indicate that the cerebellar vermis modulates the amplitude of the initial saccade (pulse size of saccadic innervation) independently of the saccadic task. The finding that post-saccadic drift never occurred when saccades were programmed using visual positional information suggests that the dorsal vermis may participate in the process of pulse step integration of saccades elicited by memorised vestibulo-cervical information.
The objective was to describe in multiple sclerosis, a
cerebellar eye movement syndrome that resulted from an acute episode of
inflammatory demyelination. Contrapulsion is an ocular motor disturbance characterised by a triad of (1) hypermetric saccadic eye
movements in a direction opposite from a precisely localised lesion
within a specific white matter pathway, the uncinate fasciculus, at the
level of the superior cerebellar peduncle (SCP); (2) hypometric saccades towards the side of the lesion; (3) oblique saccades directed
away from the side of the lesion on attempted vertical saccades.
Infrared oculography was used to demonstrate the
characteristic features of contrapulsion in two patients with multiple sclerosis.
Brain MRI showed lesions within the region of the uncinate
fasciculus and superior cerebellar peduncle in both patients. Eye
movement recordings showed saccadic hypermetria away from the side of
the lesion and saccadic hypometria towards the side of the lesion. The
hypometria decomposed into a series of stepwise movements as the eye
approached the target. Oblique saccades directed away from the side of
the lesion were seen on attempted vertical saccades.
In conclusion, ocular contrapulsion can be seen in patients
with multiple sclerosis and results from a lesion in the region of the
SCP, involving the uncinate fasciculus.
Motor impairments have been found to be a significant clinical feature associated with autism and Asperger’s disorder (AD) in addition to core symptoms of communication and social cognition deficits. Motor deficits in high-functioning autism (HFA) and AD may differentiate these disorders, particularly with respect to the role of the cerebellum in motor functioning. Current neuroimaging and behavioral evidence suggests greater disruption of the cerebellum in HFA than AD. Investigations of ocular motor functioning have previously been used in clinical populations to assess the integrity of the cerebellar networks, through examination of saccade accuracy and the integrity of saccade dynamics. Previous investigations of visually guided saccades in HFA and AD have only assessed basic saccade metrics, such as latency, amplitude, and gain, as well as peak velocity. We used a simple visually guided saccade paradigm to further characterize the profile of visually guided saccade metrics and dynamics in HFA and AD. It was found that children with HFA, but not AD, were more inaccurate across both small (5°) and large (10°) target amplitudes, and final eye position was hypometric at 10°. These findings suggest greater functional disturbance of the cerebellum in HFA than AD, and suggest fundamental difficulties with visual error monitoring in HFA.
autism; Asperger’s disorder; saccades; eye movements; Verbal Comprehension Index
The cerebellar vermis (lobules VI-VII) has been implicated in both postmortem and neuroimaging studies of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This region maintains the consistent accuracy of saccadic eye movements and plays an especially important role in correcting systematic errors in saccade amplitudes such as those induced by adaptation paradigms. Saccade adaptation paradigms have not yet been used to study ASD. Fifty-six individuals with ASD and 53 age-matched healthy controls performed an intrasaccadic target displacement task known to elicit saccadic adaptation reflected in an amplitude reduction. The rate of amplitude reduction and the variability of saccade amplitude across 180 adaptation trials were examined. Individuals with ASD adapted slower than healthy controls, and demonstrated more variability of their saccade amplitudes across trials prior to, during and after adaptation. Thirty percent of individuals with ASD did not significantly adapt, whereas only 6% of healthy controls failed to adapt. Adaptation rate and amplitude variability impairments were related to performance on a traditional neuropsychological test of manual motor control. The profile of impaired adaptation and reduced consistency of saccade accuracy indicates reduced neural plasticity within learning circuits of the oculomotor vermis that impedes the fine-tuning of motor behavior in ASD. These data provide functional evidence of abnormality in the cerebellar vermis that converges with previous reports of cellular and gross anatomic dysmorphology of this brain region in ASD.
Saccades are fast eye movements that conjugately shift the point of fixation between distant features of interest in the visual environment. Several disorders, affecting sites from brainstem to extraocular muscle, may cause horizontal saccades to become disconjugate. Prior techniques for detection of saccadic disconjugacy, especially in internuclear ophthalmoparesis (INO), have compared only one point in abducting versus adducting saccades, such as peak velocity.
We applied a phase-plane technique that compared each eye’s velocity as a function of change in position (normalized displacement) in 22 patients with disease variously affecting the brainstem reticular formation, the abducens nucleus, the medial longitudinal fasciculus, the oculomotor nerve, the abducens nerve, the neuromuscular junction or the extraocular muscles; 10 age-matched subjects served as controls.
We found three different patterns of disconjugacy throughout the course of horizontal saccades: early abnormal velocity disconjugacy during the first 10% of the displacement, in patients with INO, oculomotor or abducens nerve palsy and advanced extraocular muscle disease; late disconjugacy in patients with disease affecting the neuromuscular junction; and variable middle-course disconjugacy in patients with pontine lesions. When normal subjects made disconjugate saccades between two targets aligned on one eye, the initial part of the movement remained conjugate.
Along with conventional measures of saccades, such as peak velocity, phase-planes provide a useful tool to determine the site, extent, and pathogenesis of disconjugacy. We hypothesize that the pale global extraocular muscle fibers, which drive the high-acceleration component of saccades, receive a neural command that ensures initial ocular conjugacy.
Pontine infarction; multiple sclerosis; internuclear ophthalmoplegia; abducens nerve palsy; oculomotor nerve palsy; myasthenia gravis; chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia
Saccades are fast eye movements that conjugately shift the point of fixation between distant features of interest in the visual environment. Several disorders, affecting sites from brainstem to extraocular muscle, may cause horizontal saccades to become disconjugate. Prior techniques for detection of saccadic disconjugacy, especially in internuclear ophthalmoparesis (INO), have compared only one point in abducting vs adducting saccades, such as peak velocity.
We applied a phase-plane technique that compared each eye’s velocity as a function of change in position (normalized displacement) in 22 patients with disease variously affecting the brainstem reticular formation, the abducens nucleus, the medial longitudinal fasciculus, the oculomotor nerve, the abducens nerve, the neuromuscular junction, or the extraocular muscles; 10 age-matched subjects served as controls.
We found three different patterns of disconjugacy throughout the course of horizontal saccades: early abnormal velocity disconjugacy during the first 10% of the displacement in patients with INO, oculomotor or abducens nerve palsy, and advanced extraocular muscle disease; late disconjugacy in patients with disease affecting the neuromuscular junction; and variable middle-course disconjugacy in patients with pontine lesions. When normal subjects made disconjugate saccades between two targets aligned on one eye, the initial part of the movement remained conjugate.
Along with conventional measures of saccades, such as peak velocity, phase planes provide a useful tool to determine the site, extent, and pathogenesis of disconjugacy. We hypothesize that the pale global extraocular muscle fibers, which drive the high-acceleration component of saccades, receive a neural command that ensures initial ocular conjugacy.
= cranial nerve;
= chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia;
= eye movement;
= internuclear ophthalmoparesis;
= myasthenia gravis;
= medial longitudinal fasciculus;
= multiple sclerosis;
= prediction interval;
= paramedian pontine reticular formation;
= raphe interpositus;
The oculomotor vermis (OMV) of the cerebellum is necessary for the generation of the accurate rapid eye movements called saccades. Large lesions of the midline cerebellar cortex involving the OMV cause saccades to become hypometric and more variable. However, saccades were not examined immediately after these lesions so the interpretation of the resulting deficits might have been contaminated by some adaptation to the saccade dysmetria. Therefore, to better understand the contribution of the OMV to normal saccades, we impaired its operation locally by injecting small amounts of either an agonist or antagonist of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a ubiquitous neurotransmitter throughout the cerebellar cortex. Muscimol, a GABA agonist, inactivated part of the OMV, whereas bicuculline, an antagonist, disinhibited it. Muscimol caused all ipsiversive horizontal saccades from 5 to 30° to become hypometric. In contrast, bicuculline produced an amplitude-dependent dysmetria: ipsiversive horizontal saccades elicited by target steps <10° became hypometric, whereas those in response to larger steps became hypermetric. At the transition target amplitude, saccade amplitudes were quite variable with some being hypo- and others hypermetric. After most injections of either agent, saccades had lower peak velocities and longer durations than pre-injection saccades of the same amplitude. The longer durations were associated with a prolongation of the deceleration phase. Both agents produced inconsistent effects on contraversive saccades. These results establish that the oculomotor vermis helps control the characteristics of normal ipsiversive saccades and that GABAergic inhibitory processes are a crucial part of this process.
monkey; cerebellum; muscimol; bicuculline; saccades; GABA
Saccadic eye movements rapidly orient the line of sight towards the object of interest. Pre-motor burst neurons (BNs) controlling saccades receive excitation from superior colliculus and cerebellum, but inhibition by omnipause neurons (OPNs) prevents saccades. When the OPNs pause, BNs begin to fire. It has been presumed that part of the BN burst comes from post-inhibitory rebound (PIR). We hypothesized that in the absence of prior inhibition from OPNs there would be no PIR, and thus the increase in initial firing rate of BNs would be reduced. Consequently, saccade acceleration would be reduced. We measured eye movements and showed that sustained eye closure, which inhibits the activity of OPNs and thus hypothetically should weaken PIR, reduced the peak velocity, acceleration, and deceleration of saccades in healthy human subjects. Saccades under closed eyelids also had irregular trajectories; the frequency of the oscillations underlying this irregularity was similar to that of high-frequency ocular flutter (back-to-back saccades) often seen in normal subjects during attempted fixation at straight ahead while eyes are closed. Saccades and quick phases of nystagmus are generated by the same pre-motor neurons, and we found that the quick-phase velocity of nystagmus was also reduced by lid closure. These changes were not due to a mechanical hindrance to the eyes, because lid closure did not affect the peak velocities or accelerations of the eyes in the “slow-phase” response to rapid head movements of comparable speeds to those of saccades. These results indicate a role for OPNs in generating the abrupt onset and high velocities of saccades. We hypothesize that the mechanism involved is PIR in pre-motor burst neurons.
Omnipause neurons; Burst neurons; Oscillations; Ballistic movement; Post-inhibitory rebound
Two patients with well defined lesions of midline cerebellar structures including the fastigial nuclei on both sides presented with saccadic hypermetria but well preserved smooth pursuit eye movements. This is a remarkable finding as the oculomotor vermis (lobules VI, VII) and the fastigial nucleus are known to play a part in the control of smooth pursuit eye movements and unilateral fastigial lesions lead to a smooth pursuit deficit to the contralateral side (besides saccadic dysmetria). The results are discussed with regard to related deficits seen in patients with Wallenberg's syndrome and after lesions of the pontine reticular formation.
This review provides a summary of the contributions made by human functional neuroimaging studies to the understanding of neural correlates of saccadic control. The generation of simple visually-guided saccades (redirections of gaze to a visual stimulus or prosaccades) and more complex volitional saccades require similar basic neural circuitry with additional neural regions supporting requisite higher level processes. The saccadic system has been studied extensively in non-human primates (e.g. single unit recordings) and humans (e.g. lesions and neuroimaging). Considerable knowledge of this system’s functional neuroanatomy makes it useful for investigating models of cognitive control. The network involved in prosaccade generation (by definition exogenously-driven) includes subcortical (striatum, thalamus, superior colliculus, and cerebellar vermis) and cortical structures (primary visual, extrastriate, and parietal cortices, and frontal and supplementary eye fields). Activation in these regions is also observed during endogenously-driven voluntary saccades (e.g. antisaccades, ocular motor delayed response or memory saccades, predictive tracking tasks and anticipatory saccades, and saccade sequencing), all of which require complex cognitive processes like inhibition and working memory. These additional requirements are supported by changes in neural activity in basic saccade circuitry and by recruitment of additional neural regions (such as prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices). Activity in visual cortex is modulated as a function of task demands and may predict the type of saccade to be generated, perhaps via top-down control mechanisms. Neuroimaging studies suggest two foci of activation within FEF - medial and lateral - which may correspond to volitional and reflexive demands, respectively. Future research on saccade control could usefully (i) delineate important anatomical subdivisions that underlie functional differences, (ii) evaluate functional connectivity of anatomical regions supporting saccade generation using methods such as ICA and structural equation modeling, (iii) investigate how context affects behavior and brain activity, and (iv) use multi-modal neuroimaging to maximize spatial and temporal resolution.
In the classic double-step paradigm, subjects are required to make a
saccade to a visual target that is briefly presented at one location and then
shifted to a new location before the subject has responded. The saccades in this
situation are “reflexive” in that they are made in
response to the appearance of the target itself. In the present experiments we
adapted the double-step paradigm to study “voluntary”
saccades. For this, several identical targets were always visible and subjects
were given a cue to indicate that they should make a saccade to one of them.
This cue was then changed to indicate another of the targets before the subject
had responded: double-cue (DC) paradigm. The saccadic eye movements in our DC
paradigm had many features in common with those in the double-step paradigm and
we show that apparent differences can be attributed to the spatio-temporal
arrangements of the cues/ targets rather than to any intrinsic differences in
the programming of these two kinds of eye movements. For example, a feature of
our DC paradigm that is not seen in the usual double-step paradigm is that the
second cue could cause transient delays of the initial saccade, and these delays
still occurred when the second cue was reflexive—provided that it was
at the fovea (as in our DC paradigm) and not in the periphery (as in the usual
double-step paradigm). Thus, the critical factor for the delay was the retinal
(foveal) location of the second cue/target—not whether it was
cognitive or reflexive—and we argue that the second cue/target is
here acting as a distractor. We conclude that the DC paradigm can be used to
study the programming of voluntary saccades in the same way that the double-step
paradigm can be used to study reflexive saccades.
Saccadic eye movements; Double-step paradigm; Cognitive cues
One way to explore how prior sensory and motor events impact eye movements is to ask someone to look to targets located about a central point, returning gaze to the central point after each eye movement. Concerned about the contribution of this return to center movement, Anderson et al. (2008) used a sequential saccade paradigm in which participants made a continuous series of saccades to peripheral targets that appeared to the left or right of the currently fixated location in a random sequence (the next eye movement began from the last target location). Examining the effects of previous saccades (n−x) on current saccade latency (n), they found that saccadic reaction times (RT) were reduced when the direction of the current saccade matched that of a preceding saccade (e.g., two left saccades), even when the two saccades in question were separated by multiple saccades in any direction. We examined if this pattern extends to conditions in which targets appear inside continuously marked locations that provide stable visual features (i.e., target “placeholders”) and when saccades are prompted by central arrows. Participants completed 3 conditions: peripheral targets (PT; continuous, sequential saccades to peripherally presented targets) without placeholders; PT with placeholders; and centrally presented arrows (CA; left or right pointing arrows at the currently fixated location instructing participants to saccade to the left or right). We found reduced saccadic RT when the immediately preceding saccade (n−1) was in the same (vs. opposite) direction in the PT without placeholders and CA conditions. This effect varied when considering the effect of the previous 2–5 (n−x) saccades on current saccade latency (n). The effects of previous eye movements on current saccade latency may be determined by multiple, time-varying mechanisms related to sensory (i.e., retinotopic location), motor (i.e., saccade direction), and environmental (i.e., persistent visual objects) factors.
saccade latency; peripheral cue; central cue; random walk paradigm; sequential saccades
The cerebellum may monitor motor commands and through internal feedback corrects for anticipated errors. Saccades provide a test of this idea because these movements are completed too quickly for sensory feedback to be useful. Earlier we reported that motor commands that accelerate the eyes toward a constant amplitude target showed variability. Here, we demonstrate that this variability is not random noise, but is due to the cognitive state of the subject. Healthy people showed within saccade compensation for this variability with commands that arrived later in the same saccade. However, in people with cerebellar damage, the same variability resulted in dysmetria. This ability to correct for variability in the motor commands that initiated a saccade was a predictor of each subject’s ability to learn from endpoint errors. In a paradigm in which a target on the horizontal meridian jumped vertically during the saccade (resulting in an endpoint error), the adaptive response exhibited two timescales: a fast timescale that learned quickly from endpoint error but had poor retention, and a slow timescale that learned slowly but had strong retention. With cortical cerebellar damage, the fast timescale of adaptation was effectively absent, but the slow timescale was less impaired. Therefore the cerebellum corrects for variability in the motor commands that initiate saccades within the same movement via an adaptive response that not only exhibits strong sensitivity to previous endpoint errors, but also rapid forgetting.
saccade adaptation; forward model; SCA-6; fatigue; saccade repetition; saccade kinematics; repetition attenuation
An impairment of eye movements, or nystagmus, is seen in many diseases of the central nervous system, in particular those affecting the brainstem and cerebellum, as well as in those of the vestibular system. The key to diagnosis is a systematic clinical examination of the different types of eye movements, including: eye position, range of eye movements, smooth pursuit, saccades, gaze-holding function and optokinetic nystagmus, as well as testing for the different types of nystagmus (e.g., central fixation nystagmus or peripheral vestibular nystagmus). Depending on the time course of the signs and symptoms, eye movements often indicate a specific underlying cause (e.g., stroke or neurodegenerative or metabolic disorders). A detailed knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of eye movements enables the physician to localize the disturbance to a specific area in the brainstem (midbrain, pons or medulla) or cerebellum (in particular the flocculus). For example, isolated dysfunction of vertical eye movements is due to a midbrain lesion affecting the rostral interstitial nucleus of the medial longitudinal fascicle, with impaired vertical saccades only, the interstitial nucleus of Cajal or the posterior commissure; common causes with an acute onset are an infarction or bleeding in the upper midbrain or in patients with chronic progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and Niemann–Pick type C (NP-C). Isolated dysfunction of horizontal saccades is due to a pontine lesion affecting the paramedian pontine reticular formation due, for instance, to brainstem bleeding, glioma or Gaucher disease type 3; an impairment of horizontal and vertical saccades is found in later stages of PSP, NP-C and Gaucher disease type 3. Gaze-evoked nystagmus (GEN) in all directions indicates a cerebellar dysfunction and can have multiple causes such as drugs, in particular antiepileptics, chronic alcohol abuse, neurodegenerative cerebellar disorders or cerebellar ataxias; purely vertical GEN is due to a midbrain lesion, while purely horizontal GEN is due to a pontomedullary lesion. The pathognomonic clinical sign of internuclear ophthalmoplegia is an impaired adduction while testing horizontal saccades on the side of the lesion in the ipsilateral medial longitudinal fascicule. The most common pathological types of central nystagmus are downbeat nystagmus (DBN) and upbeat nystagmus (UBN). DBN is generally due to cerebellar dysfunction affecting the flocculus bilaterally (e.g., due to a neurodegenerative disease). Treatment options exist for a few disorders: miglustat for NP-C and aminopyridines for DBN and UBN. It is therefore particularly important to identify treatable cases with these conditions.
Ocular motor; Examination; Neurodegenerative disorder; Diagnosis; Treatment
An intact cerebellum is a prerequisite for optimal ocular motor performance. The cerebellum fine-tunes each of the subtypes of eye movements so they work together to bring and maintain images of objects of interest on the fovea. Here we review the major aspects of the contribution of the cerebellum to ocular motor control. The approach will be based on structural–functional correlation, combining the effects of lesions and the results from physiologic studies, with the emphasis on the cerebellar regions known to be most closely related to ocular motor function: (1) the flocculus/paraflocculus for high-frequency (brief) vestibular responses, sustained pursuit eye movements, and gaze holding, (2) the nodulus/ventral uvula for low-frequency (sustained) vestibular responses, and (3) the dorsal oculomotor vermis and its target in the posterior portion of the fastigial nucleus (the fastigial oculomotor region) for saccades and pursuit initiation.
saccade; vestibular; pursuit; flocculus; paraflocculus; nodulus; vermis; fastigial
In a typical short-term saccadic adaptation protocol, the target moves intra-saccadically either toward (gain-down) or away (gain-up) from initial fixation, causing the saccade to complete with an endpoint error. A central question is how the motor system adapts in response to this error: are the motor commands changed to bring the eyes to a different goal, akin to a remapping of the target, or is adaptation focused on the processes that monitor the ongoing motor commands and correct them midflight, akin to changes that act via internal feedback? Here, we found that in the gain-down paradigm, the brain learned to produce a smaller amplitude saccade by altering the saccade's trajectory. The adapted saccades had reduced peak velocities, reduced accelerations, shallower decelerations, and increased durations compared to a control saccade of equal amplitude. These changes were consistent with a change in an internal feedback that acted as a forward model. On the other hand, in the gain-up paradigm the brain learned to produce a larger amplitude saccade with trajectories that were identical to those of control saccades of equal amplitude. Therefore, whereas the gain-down paradigm appeared to induce adaptation via an internal feedback that controlled saccades midflight, gain-up induced adaptation primarily via target remapping. Our simulations explained that for each condition, the specific adaptation produced a saccade that brought the eyes to the target with the smallest motor costs.
Saccade adaptation; saccade kinematics; forward models; optimal control; computational neuroscience; Sensorimotor
To clarify the role of visual feedback in the generation of corrective movements after inaccurate primary saccades, we used a visually-triggered saccade task in which we varied how long the target was visible. The target was on for only 100 ms (OFF100ms), on until the start of the primary saccade (OFFonset) or on for 2 s (ON). We found that the tolerance for the post-saccadic error was small (− 2%) with a visual signal (ON) but greater (−6%) without visual feedback (OFF100ms). Saccades with an error of −10%, however, were likely to be followed by corrective saccades regardless of whether or not visual feedback was present. Corrective saccades were generally generated earlier when visual error information was available; their latency was related to the size of the error. The LATER (Linear Approach to Threshold with Ergodic Rate) model analysis also showed a comparable small population of short latency corrective saccades irrespective of the target visibility. Finally, we found, in the absence of visual feedback, the accuracy of corrective saccades across subjects was related to the latency of the primary saccade. Our findings provide new insights into the mechanisms underlying the programming of corrective saccades: 1) the preparation of corrective saccades begins along with the preparation of the primary saccades, 2) the accuracy of corrective saccades depends on the reaction time of the primary saccades and 3) if visual feedback is available after the initiation of the primary saccade, the prepared correction can be updated.
Primary saccade; Corrective saccade; Visual feedback; LATER model; Forward control