Saccadic suppression induces focal hypooxygenation in the occipital cortex

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2000 Jul;20(7):1103-10. doi: 10.1097/00004647-200007000-00010.


This study investigated how a decrease in neuronal activity affects cerebral blood oxygenation employing a paradigm of acoustically triggered saccades in complete darkness. Known from behavioral evidence as saccadic suppression, electrophysiologically it has been shown in monkeys that during saccades an attenuation of activity occurs in visual cortex neurons (Duffy and Burchfiel, 1975). In study A, using blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) contrast functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the authors observed signal intensity decreases bilaterally at the occipital pole during the performance of saccades at 2 Hz. In study B.1, the authors directly measured changes in deoxyhemoglobin [deoxy-Hb] and oxyhemoglobin [oxy-Hb] concentration in the occipital cortex with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Whereas a rise in [deoxy-Hb] during the performance of saccades occurred, there was a drop in [oxy-Hb]. In a second NIRS study (B.2), subjects performed saccades at different rates (1.6, 2.0, and 2.3 Hz). Here the authors found the increase in deoxy-Hb and the decrease of oxy-Hb to be dependent on the frequency of the saccades. In summary, the authors observed a focal hypooxygenation in the human visual cortex dependent on the saccade-frequency in an acoustically triggered saccades paradigm. This could be interpreted as evidence that corresponding to the focal hyperoxygenation observed in functional brain activation, caused by an excessive increase in cerebral blood flow (CBF) over the increase in CMRO2 during decreased neuronal activity CBF, is more reduced than oxygen delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Occipital Lobe / metabolism*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Oxyhemoglobins / analysis
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared


  • Hemoglobins
  • Oxyhemoglobins
  • deoxyhemoglobin
  • Oxygen