The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is a small-bodied New World primate increasing in prominence as a model animal for neuroscience research. The lissencephalic cortex of this primate species provides substantial advantages for the application of electrophysiological techniques such as high-density and laminar recordings, which have the capacity to advance our understanding of local and laminar cortical circuits and their roles in cognitive and motor functions. This is particularly the case with respect to the oculomotor system, as critical cortical areas of this network such as the frontal eye fields (FEF) and lateral intraparietal area (LIP) lie deep within sulci in macaques. Studies of cytoarchitecture and connectivity have established putative homologies between cortical oculomotor fields in marmoset and macaque, but physiological investigations of these areas, particularly in awake marmosets, have yet to be carried out. Here we addressed this gap by probing the function of posterior parietal cortex of the common marmoset with electrical microstimulation. We implanted two animals with 32-channel Utah arrays at the location of the putative area LIP and applied microstimulation while they viewed a video display and made untrained eye movements. Similar to previous studies in macaques, stimulation evoked fixed-vector and goal-directed saccades, staircase saccades, and eyeblinks. These data demonstrate that area LIP of the marmoset plays a role in the regulation of eye movements, provide additional evidence that this area is homologous with that of the macaque, and further establish the marmoset as a valuable model for neurophysiological investigations of oculomotor and cognitive control.NEW & NOTEWORTHY The macaque monkey has been the preeminent model for investigations of oculomotor control, but studies of cortical areas are limited, as many of these areas are buried within sulci in this species. Here we applied electrical microstimulation to the putative area LIP of the lissencephalic cortex of awake marmosets. Similar to the macaque, microstimulation evoked contralateral saccades from this area, supporting the marmoset as a valuable model for studies of oculomotor control.
Keywords: area LIP; common marmoset; microstimulation; posterior parietal cortex; saccade.