Effect of eye position within the orbit on electrically elicited saccadic eye movements: a comparison of the macaque monkey's frontal and supplementary eye fields

J Neurophysiol. 1993 Mar;69(3):800-18. doi: 10.1152/jn.1993.69.3.800.


1. We quantitatively compared the effects of eye position within the orbit on saccadic eye movements electrically elicited from two oculomotor areas of the macaque monkey's frontal lobe cortex: the frontal eye field (FEF) and the supplementary eye field (SEF). 2. The effect of eye position on electrically elicited saccades was studied by delivering 70-ms trains of intracortical microstimulation while the monkeys fixated a spot of light. Tests of different fixation points located across a rectangular array were randomly intermixed. Complete experiments were carried out on 38 sites in three FEFs of two monkeys and 59 sites from three SEFs of the same two monkeys. Stimulation currents for the array experiments were usually 10-20 microA above the site threshold; the average current used was 36 microA for FEF and 49 microA for SEF. 3. The magnitude of effect of the initial eye position on the elicited saccade's dimensions was quantified at each site by computing the linear regression of saccadic eye movement displacement on the eye position within the orbit when stimulation was applied. This computation was done separately for the horizontal and vertical axes. We call the resulting pair of regression coefficients "orbital perturbation indexes." Indexes of 0.0 represent elicited saccades that do not change their trajectory with different initial eye positions (constant-vector saccades), whereas indexes of -1.0 represent elicited saccades that end at the same orbital position regardless of initial eye position (goal-directed saccades). 4. The effect of eye position varied across sites. In both FEF and SEF, the orbital perturbation indexes were distributed between approximately 0.0 and -0.5, with the horizontal and vertical indexes highly correlated across sites. 5. The average orbital perturbation indexes were small for both eye fields and were not significantly different. The mean horizontal indexes were -0.13 and -0.16 for SEF and FEF, respectively. The mean vertical indexes were -0.16 and -0.13. Neither SEF versus FEF difference was statistically significant. 6. In both SEF and FEF, sites yielding larger-amplitude saccades generally had larger orbital effects than sites yielding smaller saccades. This relationship accounted for the majority of the variability of the orbital perturbation indexes across sites in both SEF and FEF. 7. These results indicate that SEF and FEF are not distinguished from each other by the orbital dependence of their electrically elicited saccades. Thus they do not confirm the previously hypothesized dichotomy that FEF codes constant-vector saccades and SEF codes goal-directed saccades.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Stem / physiology
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Orbit / innervation
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*