Visual responses of pulvinar and collicular neurons during eye movements of awake, trained macaques

D. L. Robinson, J. W. McClurkin, C. Kertzman, S. E. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

We recorded from single neurons in awake, trained rhesus monkeys in a lighted environment and compared responses to stimulus movement during periods of fixation with those to motion caused by saccadic or pursuit eye movements. Neurons in the inferior pulvinar (PI), lateral pulvinar (PL), and superior colliculus were tested. Cells in PI and PL respond to stimulus movement over a wide range of speeds. Some of these cells do not respond to comparable stimulus motion, or discharge only weakly, when it is generated by saccadic or pursuit eye movements. Other neurons respond equivalently to both types of motion. Cells in the superficial layers of the superior colliculus have similar properties to those in PI and PL. When tested in the dark to reduce visual stimulation from the background, cells in PI and PL still do not respond to motion generated by eye movements. Some of these cells have a suppression of activity after saccadic eye movements made in total darkness. These data suggest that an extraretinal signal suppresses responses to visual stimuli during eye movements. The suppression of responses to stimuli during eye movements is not an absolute effect. Images brighter than 2.0 log units above background illumination evoke responses from cells in PI and PL. The suppression appears stronger in the superior colliculus than in PI and PL. These experiments demonstrate that many cells in PI and PL have a suppression of their responses to stimuli that cross their receptive fields during eye movements. These cells are probably suppressed by an extraretinal signal. Comparable effects are present in the superficial layers of the superior colliculus. These properties in PI and PL may reflect the function of the ascending tectopulvinar system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-496
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Volume66
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes

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