(1/2420) MST neuronal responses to heading direction during pursuit eye movements.

As you move through the environment, you see a radial pattern of visual motion with a focus of expansion (FOE) that indicates your heading direction. When self-movement is combined with smooth pursuit eye movements, the turning of the eye distorts the retinal image of the FOE but somehow you still can perceive heading. We studied neurons in the medial superior temporal area (MST) of monkey visual cortex, recording responses to FOE stimuli presented during fixation and smooth pursuit eye movements. Almost all neurons showed significant changes in their FOE selective responses during pursuit eye movements. However, the vector average of all the neuronal responses indicated the direction of the FOE during both fixation and pursuit. Furthermore, the amplitude of the net vector increased with increasing FOE eccentricity. We conclude that neuronal population encoding in MST might contribute to pursuit-tolerant heading perception.  (+info)

(2/2420) Eye movement deficits following ibotenic acid lesions of the nucleus prepositus hypoglossi in monkeys II. Pursuit, vestibular, and optokinetic responses.

The eyes are moved by a combination of neural commands that code eye velocity and eye position. The eye position signal is supposed to be derived from velocity-coded command signals by mathematical integration via a single oculomotor neural integrator. For horizontal eye movements, the neural integrator is thought to reside in the rostral nucleus prepositus hypoglossi (nph) and project directly to the abducens nuclei. In a previous study, permanent, serial ibotenic acid lesions of the nph in three rhesus macaques compromised the neural integrator for fixation but saccades were not affected. In the present study, to determine further whether the nph is the neural substrate for a single oculomotor neural integrator, the effects of those lesions on smooth pursuit, the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR), vestibular nystagmus (VN), and optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) are documented. The lesions were correlated with long-lasting deficits in eye movements, indicated most clearly by the animals' inability to maintain steady gaze in the dark. However, smooth pursuit and sinusoidal VOR in the dark, like the saccades in the previous study, were affected minimally. The gain of horizontal smooth pursuit (eye movement/target movement) decreased slightly (<25%) and phase lead increased slightly for all frequencies (0.3-1.0 Hz, +/-10 degrees target tracking), most noticeably for higher frequencies (0.8-0.7 and approximately 20 degrees for 1.0-Hz tracking). Vertical smooth pursuit was not affected significantly. Surprisingly, horizontal sinusoidal VOR gain and phase also were not affected significantly. Lesions had complex effects on both VN and OKN. The plateau of per- and postrotatory VN was shortened substantially ( approximately 50%), whereas the initial response and the time constant of decay decreased slightly. The initial OKN response also decreased slightly, and the charging phase was prolonged transiently then recovered to below normal levels like the VN time constant. Maximum steady-state, slow eye velocity of OKN decreased progressively by approximately 30% over the course of the lesions. These results support the previous conclusion that the oculomotor neural integrator is not a single neural entity and that the mathematical integrative function for different oculomotor subsystems is most likely distributed among a number of nuclei. They also show that the nph apparently is not involved in integrating smooth pursuit signals and that lesions of the nph can fractionate the VOR and nystagmic responses to adequate stimuli.  (+info)

(3/2420) Optimality of position commands to horizontal eye muscles: A test of the minimum-norm rule.

Six muscles control the position of the eye, which has three degrees of freedom. Daunicht proposed an optimization rule for solving this redundancy problem, whereby small changes in eye position are maintained by the minimum possible change in motor commands to the eye (the minimum-norm rule). The present study sought to test this proposal for the simplified one-dimensional case of small changes in conjugate eye position in the horizontal plane. Assuming such changes involve only the horizontal recti, Daunicht's hypothesis predicts reciprocal innervation with the size of the change in command matched to the strength of the recipient muscle at every starting position of the eye. If the motor command to a muscle is interpreted as the summed firing rate of its oculomotor neuron (OMN) pool, the minimum-norm prediction can be tested by comparing OMN firing rates with forces in the horizontal recti. The comparison showed 1) for the OMN firing rates given by Van Gisbergen and Van Opstal and the muscle forces given by Robinson, there was good agreement between the minimum-norm prediction and experimental observation over about a +/-30 degrees range of eye positions. This fit was robust with respect to variations in muscle stiffness and in methods of calculating muscle innervation. 2) Other data sets gave different estimates for the range of eye-positions within which the minimum-norm prediction held. The main sources of variation appeared to be disagreement about the proportion of OMNs with very low firing-rate thresholds (i.e., less than approximately 35 degrees in the OFF direction) and uncertainty about eye-muscle behavior for extreme (>30 degrees ) positions of the eye. 3) For all data sets, the range of eye positions over which the minimum-norm rule applied was determined by the pattern of motor-unit recruitment inferred for those data. It corresponded to the range of eye positions over which the size principle of recruitment was obeyed by both agonist and antagonist muscles. It is argued that the current best estimate of the oculomotor range over which minimum-norm control could be used for conjugate horizontal eye position is approximately +/-30 degrees. The uncertainty associated with this estimate would be reduced by obtaining unbiased samples of OMN firing rates. Minimum-norm control may result from reduction of the image movement produced by noise in OMN firing rates.  (+info)

(4/2420) Short-latency vergence eye movements induced by radial optic flow in humans: dependence on ambient vergence level.

Radial patterns of optic flow, such as those experienced by moving observers who look in the direction of heading, evoke vergence eye movements at short latency. We have investigated the dependence of these responses on the ambient vergence level. Human subjects faced a large tangent screen onto which two identical random-dot patterns were back-projected. A system of crossed polarizers ensured that each eye saw only one of the patterns, with mirror galvanometers to control the horizontal positions of the images and hence the vergence angle between the two eyes. After converging the subject's eyes at one of several distances ranging from 16.7 cm to infinity, both patterns were replaced with new ones (using a system of shutters and two additional projectors) so as to simulate the radial flow associated with a sudden 4% change in viewing distance with the focus of expansion/contraction imaged in or very near both foveas. Radial-flow steps induced transient vergence at latencies of 80-100 ms, expansions causing increases in convergence and contractions the converse. Based on the change in vergence 90-140 ms after the onset of the steps, responses were proportional to the preexisting vergence angle (and hence would be expected to be inversely proportional to viewing distance under normal conditions). We suggest that this property assists the observer who wants to fixate ahead while passing through a visually cluttered area (e.g., a forest) and so wants to avoid making vergence responses to the optic flow created by the nearby objects in the periphery.  (+info)

(5/2420) Motor cortical encoding of serial order in a context-recall task.

The neural encoding of serial order was studied in the motor cortex of monkeys performing a context-recall memory scanning task. Up to five visual stimuli were presented successively on a circle (list presentation phase), and then one of them (test stimulus) changed color; the monkeys had to make a single motor response toward the stimulus that immediately followed the test stimulus in the list. Correct performance in this task depends on memorization of the serial order of the stimuli during their presentation. It was found that changes in neural activity during the list presentation phase reflected the serial order of the stimuli; the effect on cell activity of the serial order of stimuli during their presentation was at least as strong as the effect of motor direction on cell activity during the execution of the motor response. This establishes the serial order of stimuli in a motor task as an important determinant of motor cortical activity during stimulus presentation and in the absence of changes in peripheral motor events, in contrast to the commonly held view of the motor cortex as just an "upper motor neuron."  (+info)

(6/2420) Action of the brain stem saccade generator during horizontal gaze shifts. I. Discharge patterns of omnidirectional pause neurons.

Omnidirectional pause neurons (OPNs) pause for the duration of a saccade in all directions because they are part of the neural mechanism that controls saccade duration. In the natural situation, however, large saccades are accompanied by head movements to produce rapid gaze shifts. To determine whether OPNs are part of the mechanism that controls the whole gaze shift rather than the eye saccade alone, we monitored the activity of 44 OPNs that paused for rightward and leftward gaze shifts but otherwise discharged at relatively constant average rates. Pause duration was well correlated with the duration of either eye or gaze movement but poorly correlated with the duration of head movement. The time of pause onset was aligned tightly with the onset of either eye or gaze movement but only loosely aligned with the onset of head movement. These data suggest that the OPN pause does not encode the duration of head movement. Further, the end of the OPN pause was often better aligned with the end of the eye movement than with the end of the gaze movement for individual gaze shifts. For most gaze shifts, the eye component ended with an immediate counterrotation owing to the vestibuloocular reflex (VOR), and gaze ended at variable times thereafter. In those gaze shifts where eye counterrotation was delayed, the end of the pause also was delayed. Taken together, these data suggest that the end of the pause influences the onset of eye counterrotation, not the end of the gaze shift. We suggest that OPN neurons act to control only that portion of the gaze movement that is commanded by the eye burst generator. This command is expressed by driving the saccadic eye movement directly and also by suppressing VOR eye counterrotation. Because gaze end is less well correlated with pause end and often occurs well after counterrotation onset, we conclude that elements of the burst generator typically are not active till gaze end, and that gaze end is determined by another mechanism independent of the OPNs.  (+info)

(7/2420) Optical imaging of functional domains in the cortex of the awake and behaving monkey.

As demonstrated by anatomical and physiological studies, the cerebral cortex consists of groups of cortical modules, each comprising populations of neurons with similar functional properties. This functional modularity exists in both sensory and association neocortices. However, the role of such cortical modules in perceptual and cognitive behavior is unknown. To aid in the examination of this issue we have applied the high spatial resolution optical imaging methodology to the study of awake, behaving animals. In this paper, we report the optical imaging of orientation domains and blob structures, approximately 100-200 micrometer in size, in visual cortex of the awake and behaving monkey. By overcoming the spatial limitations of other existing imaging methods, optical imaging will permit the study of a wide variety of cortical functions at the columnar level, including motor and cognitive functions traditionally studied with positron-emission tomography or functional MRI techniques.  (+info)

(8/2420) Three-dimensional eye-head coordination during gaze saccades in the primate.

The purpose of this investigation was to describe the neural constraints on three-dimensional (3-D) orientations of the eye in space (Es), head in space (Hs), and eye in head (Eh) during visual fixations in the monkey and the control strategies used to implement these constraints during head-free gaze saccades. Dual scleral search coil signals were used to compute 3-D orientation quaternions, two-dimensional (2-D) direction vectors, and 3-D angular velocity vectors for both the eye and head in three monkeys during the following visual tasks: radial to/from center, repetitive horizontal, nonrepetitive oblique, random (wide 2-D range), and random with pin-hole goggles. Although 2-D gaze direction (of Es) was controlled more tightly than the contributing 2-D Hs and Eh components, the torsional standard deviation of Es was greater (mean 3.55 degrees ) than Hs (3.10 degrees ), which in turn was greater than Eh (1.87 degrees ) during random fixations. Thus the 3-D Es range appeared to be the byproduct of Hs and Eh constraints, resulting in a pseudoplanar Es range that was twisted (in orthogonal coordinates) like the zero torsion range of Fick coordinates. The Hs fixation range was similarly Fick-like, whereas the Eh fixation range was quasiplanar. The latter Eh range was maintained through exquisite saccade/slow phase coordination, i.e., during each head movement, multiple anticipatory saccades drove the eye torsionally out of the planar range such that subsequent slow phases drove the eye back toward the fixation range. The Fick-like Hs constraint was maintained by the following strategies: first, during purely vertical/horizontal movements, the head rotated about constantly oriented axes that closely resembled physical Fick gimbals, i.e., about head-fixed horizontal axes and space-fixed vertical axes, respectively (although in 1 animal, the latter constraint was relaxed during repetitive horizontal movements, allowing for trajectory optimization). However, during large oblique movements, head orientation made transient but dramatic departures from the zero-torsion Fick surface, taking the shortest path between two torsionally eccentric fixation points on the surface. Moreover, in the pin-hole goggle task, the head-orientation range flattened significantly, suggesting a task-dependent default strategy similar to Listing's law. These and previous observations suggest two quasi-independent brain stem circuits: an oculomotor 2-D to 3-D transformation that coordinates anticipatory saccades with slow phases to uphold Listing's law, and a flexible "Fick operator" that selects head motor error; both nested within a dynamic gaze feedback loop.  (+info)