Saccades differentially modulate human LGN and V1 responses in the presence and absence of visual stimulation

Curr Biol. 2005 Jan 11;15(1):37-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2004.12.061.


Saccades occur several times each second in normal human vision. The visual image moves across the retina at high velocity during a saccade, yet no blurring of the visual scene is perceived . Active suppression of visual input may account for this perceptual continuity, but the neural mechanisms underlying such saccadic suppression remain unclear. We used functional MRI to specifically examine responses in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and primary visual cortex (V1) during saccades. Activity in both V1 and LGN was strongly modulated by saccades. Furthermore, this modulation depended on whether visual stimulation was present or absent. In complete darkness, saccades led to reliable signal increases in V1 and LGN, whereas in the presence of visual stimulation, saccades led to suppression of visually evoked responses. These findings represent unequivocal evidence for saccadic suppression in human LGN and retinotopically defined V1 and are consistent with the earliest site of saccadic suppression lying at or before V1.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retina / physiology
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*