Spatio-temporal recoding of rapid eye movement signals in the monkey paramedian pontine reticular formation (PPRF)

Exp Brain Res. 1983;52(1):105-20. doi: 10.1007/BF00237155.


The integrity of the paramedian pontine reticular formation (PPRF) is necessary for the generation of rapid eye movements. The main saccade-related population is of the burst type with latencies between 0 and 40 ms preceding a saccade, and they can be divided into medium- and long-lead burst neurons. Burst neurons have predominantly spatially coded movement fields in the rostral PPRF, while in the caudal PPRF they increase their burst strength in temporal coding approximately in the pulling directions of extraocular eye muscles (i.e. almost horizontal or vertical). Both neuronal populations have ipsilateral on-directions and contain long-lead burst neurons. In a quantitative analysis the firing patterns of long-lead burst neurons are compared to those of medium-lead burst neurons, which form the predominant output of the saccadic pulse generator to the motoneurons. The firing patterns of temporally coded long-lead bursters are similar to those of medium-lead bursters, except for earlier on-latencies, larger statistical fluctuations, and specializations for small or large saccades in oblique directions. The spatially coded burst neurons form a motor map of saccadic vectors. The diameter of their movement field is often about the size of the saccade vector, and they encode saccadic onset and duration. These results are consistent with a model for visual saccades in eye displacement coordinates, where the spatio-temporal recording of horizontal eye movements is effected by long-lead burst neurons in the PPRF.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eye Movements*
  • Macaca / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Pons / physiology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Reticular Formation / cytology
  • Reticular Formation / physiology*
  • Saccades
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Time Perception / physiology*