Distribution of activity across the monkey cerebral cortical surface, thalamus and midbrain during rapid, visually guided saccades

Cereb Cortex. 2006 Apr;16(4):447-59. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhi124. Epub 2005 Jun 15.


To examine the distribution of visual and oculomotor activity across the macaque brain, we performed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on awake, behaving monkeys trained to perform visually guided saccades. Two subjects alternated between periods of making saccades and central fixations while blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) images were collected [3 T, (1.5 mm)3 spatial resolution]. BOLD activations from each of four cerebral hemispheres were projected onto the subjects' cortical surfaces and aligned to a surface-based atlas for comparison across hemispheres and subjects. This surface-based analysis revealed patterns of visuo-oculomotor activity across much of the cerebral cortex, including activations in the posterior parietal cortex, superior temporal cortex and frontal lobe. For each cortical domain, we show the anatomical position and extent of visuo-oculomotor activity, including evidence that the dorsolateral frontal activation, which includes the frontal eye field (on the anterior bank of the arcuate sulcus), extends anteriorly into posterior principal sulcus (area 46) and posteriorly into part of dorsal premotor cortex (area 6). Our results also suggest that subcortical BOLD activity in the pulvinar thalamus may be lateralized during voluntary eye movements. These findings provide new neuroanatomical information as to the complex neural substrates that underlie even simple goal-directed behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Thalamus / physiology*