Electrical Stimulation of the Frontal Eye Fields in the Head-Free Macaque Evokes Kinematically Normal 3D Gaze Shifts

Jachin A. Monteon, Alina G. Constantin, Hongying Wang, Julio Martinez-Trujillo, J. Douglas Crawford
2010 Journal of Neurophysiology  
The frontal eye field (FEF) is a region of the primate prefrontal cortex that is central to eye-movement generation and target selection. It has been shown that neurons in this area encode commands for saccadic eye movements. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the FEF may be involved in the generation of gaze commands for the eye and the head. To test this suggestion, we systematically stimulated (with pulses of 300 Hz frequency, 200 ms duration, 30 -100 A intensity) the FEF of two
more » ... , with the head unrestrained, while recording three-dimensional (3D) eye and head rotations. In a total of 95 sites, the stimulation consistently elicited gaze-orienting movements ranging in amplitude from 2 to 172°, directed contralateral to the stimulation site, and with variable vertical components. These movements were typically a combination of eye-in-head saccades and head-in-space movements. We then performed a comparison between the stimulation-evoked movements and gaze shifts voluntarily made by the animal. The kinematics of the stimulation-evoked movements (i.e., their spatiotemporal properties, their velocity-amplitude relationships, and the relative contributions of the eye and the head as a function of movement amplitude) were very similar to those of natural gaze shifts. Moreover, they obeyed the same 3D constraints as the natural gaze shifts (i.e., modified Listing's law for eye-in-head movements). As in natural gaze shifts, saccade and vestibuloocular reflex torsion during stimulation-evoked movements were coordinated so that at the end of the head movement the eye-in-head ended up in Listing's plane. In summary, movements evoked by stimulation of the FEF closely resembled those of naturally occurring eye-head gaze shifts. Thus we conclude that the FEF explicitly encodes gaze commands and that the kinematic aspects of eye-head coordination are likely specified by downstream mechanisms.
doi:10.1152/jn.01032.2009 pmid:20881198 fatcat:az56iugjnzaqpjzw7ys4bln5li