Functional Anatomy of a Prelearned Sequence of Horizontal Saccades in Humans

Laurent Petit, Christophe Orssaud, Nathalie Tzourio, Fabrice Crivello, Alain Berthoz, and Bernard Mazoyer
J. Neurosci.. 1996-06-01; 16(11): 3714-3726
DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.16-11-03714.1996

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We have used positron emission tomography (PET) to study the functional anatomy of the repetition of a prelearned sequence of horizontal saccadic eye movements. Five subjects had to memorize a sequence of six successive horizontal saccades. The subjects were scanned in total darkness under three different conditions: at rest, during the execution of self-paced horizontal saccades, and while repeating a prelearned saccades sequence. The repetition of the prelearned saccades sequence led to specific normalized regional cerebral blood flow (NrCBF) increases at the depth of the superior frontal sulcus as well as at the rostral part of the supplementary motor area, whereas at the parietal level an important activation was observed in the intraparietal sulcus extending up to the precuneus. In addition, it was noticed that compared with the resting control condition, both oculomotor tasks activated a common set of cortical and subcortical areas. At the cortical level, this network was composed of the frontal eye fields, the supplementary eye fields, the median part of the cingulate gyrus, and the insula. At the subcortical level, the lenticular nucleus and the thalamus as well as the cerebellar vermis were activated consistently. A direct comparison of our results with those of other PET studies on spatial vision suggests that the dorsal visuospatial pathway could be extended toward the frontal premotor region. In such a scheme, visuospatial information computed in the intraparietal sulcus would be transmitted to the frontal premotor cortex to optimize a spatial-oriented behavior. This is consistent with the early proposal that perceptual and intentional components of spatial information are mediated through superior parietal and frontal areas, respectively.

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus