Effects of anterior cingulate cortex lesions on ocular saccades in humans

Exp Brain Res. 1998 May;120(2):173-83. doi: 10.1007/s002210050391.


Cerebral blood flow studies in humans suggest that the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) could be involved in eye movement control. In two patients with a small infarction affecting the posterior part of this area (on the right side) and in ten control subjects, we studied several paradigms of saccadic eye movements: gap task, overlap task, antisaccades (using either a 5 degrees or 25 degrees lateral target), memory-guided saccades with a short (1 s) or long (7 s) delay, and sequences of memory-guided saccades. Compared with controls, patients had normal latency in the gap task but increased latency in the other tasks. The gain of memory-guided saccades was markedly decreased, bilaterally, whatever the duration of the delay. Patients made more errors than controls in the antisaccade task when the 5 degrees lateral target was used, and a higher percentage of chronological errors in the sequences of saccades. These results show that the posterior part of the right ACC plays an important role in eye movement control and suggest that this area could correspond to a "cingulate eye field" (CEF). The role of this hypothetical CEF could be an early activation exerted on the frontal ocular motor areas involved in intentional saccades and also a direct action on brainstem ocular premotor structures.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric