Functional MRI of brain activation evoked by intentional eye blinking

Neuroimage. 2003 Mar;18(3):749-59. doi: 10.1016/s1053-8119(03)00005-3.


Eye blinking is not only a reflexive action to protect the ocular surface from injury and desiccation; it can also be done intentionally. However, only a few studies have investigated the brain mechanism controlling intentional blinking, and there are still inconsistencies among the reported activation patterns in the human brain evoked by intentional blinking. In monkeys, some areas where blinking is evoked by electrical microstimulation have been found in the premotor areas and in the posterior parietal cortex. But there have been no reports about neuronal activity related to blinking in the cerebral cortex. In the present study, the brain activation evoked by intentional blinking was examined in humans by using fMRI, and the activations were found in the middle precentral gyrus, but not in the posterior parietal cortex, suggesting that the premotor areas, rather than the posterior parietal cortex, are important for controlling intentional blinking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blinking / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Echo-Planar Imaging
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Reading
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology