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Altered processing of corollary discharge in thalamic lesion patients


Dr Christian Bellebaum, 1Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, as above.


Accumulating evidence suggests that thalamic nuclei relay corollary discharge information of saccadic eye movements, enabling the visual system to update the representation of visual space. The present study aimed to explore the effect of thalamic lesions in humans on updating-related cortical processing. Event-related potentials were recorded while four patients with impairments in using corollary discharge information and 12 healthy control subjects performed a saccadic double-step task. In the experimental condition, which required the use of corollary discharge information, control subjects showed a pronounced positivity over the parietal cortex starting about 150 ms after first saccade onset, reflecting the updating process. In the patients, parietal processing related to updating was altered. Three patients showed evidence of reduced updating event-related potential effects, consistent with a unilateral deficit in using corollary discharge information. In two patients, the event-related potential topography differed significantly from the topography pattern observed in controls. Thalamic damage affects updating-related processing, presumably due to insufficient transfer of saccade-related information to parietal areas. This study thus provides further evidence for thalamic involvement in relaying corollary discharge information related to saccadic eye movements. Our data suggest that integration of corollary discharge and motor information occurs directly before the second saccade in a double-step task.