Fastigial oculomotor region and the control of foveation during fixation.

Academic Article


  • When primates maintain their gaze directed toward a visual target (visual fixation), their eyes display a combination of miniature fast and slow movements. An involvement of the cerebellum in visual fixation is indicated by the severe gaze instabilities observed in patients suffering from cerebellar lesions. Recent studies in non-human primates have identified a cerebellar structure, the fastigial oculomotor region (FOR), as a major cerebellar output nucleus with projections toward oculomotor regions in the brain stem. Unilateral inactivation of the FOR leads to dysmetric visually guided saccades and to an offset in gaze direction when the animal fixates a visual target. However, the nature of this fixation offset is not fully understood. In the present work, we analyze the inactivation-induced effects on fixation. A novel technique is adopted to describe the generation of saccades when a target is being fixated (fixational saccades). We show that the offset is the result of a combination of impaired saccade accuracy and an altered encoding of the foveal target position. Because they are independent, we propose that these two impairments are mediated by the different projections of the FOR to the brain stem, in particular to the deep superior colliculus and the pontomedullary reticular formation. Our study demonstrates that the oculomotor cerebellum, through the activity in the FOR, regulates both the amplitude of fixational saccades and the position toward which the eyes must be directed, suggesting an involvement in the acquisition of visual information from the fovea.
  • Authors

    Published In


  • Algorithms, Animals, Cerebellar Nuclei, Fixation, Ocular, GABA-A Receptor Agonists, Macaca mulatta, Models, Animal, Muscimol, Oculomotor Muscles, Saccades
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Guerrasio L; Quinet J; B├╝ttner U; Goffart L
  • Start Page

  • 1988
  • End Page

  • 2001
  • Volume

  • 103
  • Issue

  • 4