Short-duration stimulation of the supplementary eye fields perturbs anti-saccade performance while potentiating contralateral head orienting


  • Brendan B. Chapman,

    1. Graduate program in Neuroscience, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
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  • Brian D. Corneil

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
    2. Department of Psychology, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
    3. Robarts Research Institute, London, ON, Canada
    • Correspondence: Dr B. D. Corneil, 4Robarts Research Institute, as above.


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Many forms of brain stimulation utilize the notion of state dependency, whereby greater influences are observed when a given area is more engaged at the time of stimulation. Here, by delivering intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) to the supplementary eye fields (SEF) of monkeys performing interleaved pro- and anti-saccades, we show a surprising diversity of state-dependent effects of ICMS-SEF. Short-duration ICMS-SEF passed around cue presentation selectively disrupted anti-saccades by increasing reaction times and error rates bilaterally, and also recruited neck muscles, favoring contralateral head turning to a greater degree on anti-saccade trials. These results are consistent with the functional relevance of the SEF for anti-saccades. The multiplicity of stimulation-evoked effects, with ICMS-SEF simultaneously disrupting anti-saccade performance and facilitating contralateral head orienting, probably reflects both the diversity of cortical and subcortical targets of SEF projections, and the response of this oculomotor network to stimulation. We speculate that the bilateral disruption of anti-saccades arises via feedback loops that may include the thalamus, whereas neck muscle recruitment arises via feedforward polysynaptic pathways to the motor periphery. Consideration of both sets of results reveals a more complete picture of the highly complex and multiphasic response to ICMS-SEF that can play out differently in different effector systems.