PMID: 7086471May 1, 1982Paper

Activity of omnipause neurons in alert cats during saccadic eye movements and visual stimuli

Journal of Neurophysiology
C EvingerA F Fuchs


1. In the cats trained to follow a target spot with their eyes, activity was recorded from omnipause neurons (OPNs). OPNs discharge at a relatively high steady tonic rate (50-130 spikes/s) during visual fixation and smooth-pursuit eye movements but exhibit a complete cessation of discharge that begins before saccades in any direction. They are located in a compact region of the dorsal pontine tegmentum near the midline, just rostral to the abducens nucleus. 2. The average duration of the horizontal or vertical component of a saccade increases monotonically with pause duration, but a given pause duration is associated with a large range of individual saccade parameters and the timing of the pause, such as the latency from the pause onset to saccade onset or the interval from the maximum saccade velocity to the end of the pause, is no better. However, OPNs can be divided into two distinct groups on the basis of the timing of the pause relative to the parameters of the saccade. One group ceases discharging 32.4 +/- 4.6 ms, on average, before the saccade, while the second pauses 18.2 +/- 3.4 ms before the saccade. 3. Microstimulation at the site of OPNs affects the occurrence and trajectory of saccades but not smooth pursuit or fix...Continue Reading


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