Compensation for gaze perturbation during inactivation of the caudal fastigial nucleus in the head-unrestrained cat.


  • Goffart Laurent
  • Guillaume Alain
  • Pélisson Denis

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Muscimol injection in the caudal part of the fastigial nucleus (cFN) leads, in the head-unrestrained cat, to a characteristic dysmetria of saccadic gaze shifts toward visual targets. The goal of the current study was to test whether this pharmacological cFN inactivation impaired the ability to compensate for unexpected perturbations in gaze position during the latency period of the saccadic response. Such perturbations consisted of moving gaze away from the target by a transient electrical microstimulation in the deep layers of the superior colliculus simultaneously with extinction of the visual target. After injection of muscimol in the cFN, targets located in the contralesional hemifield elicited gaze shifts that fell short of the target in both "perturbed" and "unperturbed" trials. The amplitude of the compensatory contraversive gaze shifts in perturbed trials coincided with the predicted amplitude of unperturbed responses starting from the same position. Targets located in the opposite hemifield elicited hypermetric gaze shifts in both trial types, and the error of compensatory responses was not statistically different from that of unperturbed gaze shifts. These results indicate that inactivation of the cFN does not interfere with the ability of the head-unrestrained cat to compensate for ipsiversive or contraversive perturbations in gaze position. Thus the gaze-related feedback signals that are used to compute a reference signal of desired gaze displacement are not impaired by cFN inactivation.

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