Saccade-related activity in the lateral intraparietal area. I. Temporal properties; comparison with area 7a

J Neurophysiol. 1991 Sep;66(3):1095-108. doi: 10.1152/jn.1991.66.3.1095.


1. The cortex of the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) contains neurons whose activity is related to saccadic eye movements. The exact role of the IPL in relation to saccades remains, however, unclear. In this and the companion paper, we approach this problem by quantifying many of the spatial and temporal parameters of the saccade-related (S) activity. These parameters have hitherto been largely unstudied. 2. The activity of single neurons was recorded from Macaca mulatta monkeys while they were performing a delayed-saccade task. The analysis presented here is based on 161 neurons recorded from the lateral intraparietal area (LIP), a recently defined subdivision of the IPL; and 54 neurons recorded from the neighboring part of the IPL, area 7a. Overall, 409 IPL neurons were isolated in this study. 3. The typical activity of IPL neurons during the delayed-saccade task has three basic phases: light sensitive (LS), memory (M), and S. These basic phases are common to neurons of both areas LIP and 7a. In each phase (LS, M, and S), individual neurons may or may not be active. Most LIP neurons, however, are active in more than one phase. 4. To compare the activity levels of different neurons, the actual firing rate was weighted by each neuron's background level, yielding an "activity index" for each neuron, in each phase of the task. We calculated the activity index for the LS and M phases and for three phases related to the saccade: a presaccadic (Pre-S), a saccade-coincident (S-Co), and a postsaccadic (Post-S) phase. For area LIP neurons the median values of the activity index were high for the LS, M, Pre-S, and S-Co activities, and slightly lower in the Post-S period. In area 7a the median values were low for the LS phase and, in particular, for the M and Pre-S phases, somewhat higher coincident with the saccade, and high post-saccadically. 5. In area LIP, in each phase, 49-63% of the neurons had excitatory activity, and 10-17% had inhibitory responses. 6. In contrast, in area 7a excitatory responses were most frequent in the Post-S phase (56%). Excitation was particularly infrequent during M (28%) and Pre-S (22%). The incidence of inhibitory responses varied too (4-18%). The time course of inhibition was roughly opposite that of excitation; the highest frequency of inhibitory responses occurred during the saccade.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Saccades / physiology*