Characterization of oculomotor and visual activities in the primate pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus during visually guided saccade tasks

Authors

  • Ken-Ichi Okada,

    1. Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, 1-3 Machikaneyama, Toyonaka 560-853, Japan
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  • Yasushi Kobayashi

    1. Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, 1-3 Machikaneyama, Toyonaka 560-853, Japan
    2. Department of Developmental Physiology, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Myodaiji, Okazaki, Japan
    3. ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, Seika-cho, Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan
    4. PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Saitama, Japan
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Dr Y. Kobayashi, 1Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, as above.
E-mail: yasushi@fbs.osaka-u.ac.jp

Abstract

The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTN) has anatomical connections with numerous visuomotor areas including the basal ganglia, thalamus, superior colliculus and frontal eye field. Although many anatomical and physiological studies suggest a role for the PPTN in the control of conditioned behavior and associative learning, the detailed characteristics of saccade- and visual-related activities of PPTN neurons remain unclear. We recorded the activity of PPTN neurons in monkeys (Macaca fuscata ) during visually guided saccade tasks, and examined the response properties of saccade- and visual-related activities such as time course, direction selectivity and contextual modulation. Saccade-related activity occurred either during saccade execution or after saccade end. The preferred directions of the neuronal activity were biased toward the contralateral and upward sides. Half of the saccade-related neurons showed activity modulation only for task saccades and not for spontaneous saccades outside the task. Visually-responsive neurons responded with short latencies. Some responded to the appearance of the visual stimulus in a directionally selective manner, and others responded to both the appearance and disappearance of the visual stimulus in a directionally non-selective manner. Many of these neurons exhibited distinct visual responses to the appearance of two different stimuli presented under different stages of the task, whereas a population of the neurons responded equally to the disappearance of the two stimuli. Thus, many PPTN neurons exhibited context-dependent activity related to the visuomotor events, consistent with a role in controlling conditioned behavior.

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