Location of saccade-related neurons in the macaque superior colliculus

T. P. Ma, A. M. Graybiel, R. H. Wurtz

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69 Scopus citations


The locations of saccade-related neurons were studied in the superior colliculi of two adult rhesus monkeys (Macaco, mulatta) by placing marking lesions at the sites of physiologically characterized cells and comparing these histologically identified sites with the collicular laminae and acetylcholinesterase (AChE)-rich patches. Three major conclusions were drawn on the basis of 39 histologically identified sites at which saccade-related neurons were recorded. First, saccade-related neurons were distributed from the ventral half of the optic layer through the deep gray layer, and were most concentrated in the intermediate gray and white layers. Second, there was a clear relationship between the discharge characteristics of these saccade-related neurons and the depths at which they were found. Neurons having presaccadic bursts, defined as clipped and partially-clipped, tended to be encountered more dorsally, and neurons that did not have bursts (undipped) were encountered more ventrally. Although cells having different discharge characteristics seemed to be organized along a dorsoventral axis, there was no compelling evidence that these properties were specified by their laminar locations. Third, there was no clear correlation between the locations of saccade-related neurons and the distribution of individual AChE-rich patches. Saccade-related cells were found both in the caudal superior colliculus where patches were located and in the rostral superior colliculus where patches were not found; both within and between the two tiers of AChE-rich patches in the caudal superior colliculus; and both within and between individual AChE-rich patches. However, the depth-level at which saccade-related neurons occurred generally matched the region bounded by the two tiers of AChE-rich patches in the intermediate and deep layers, and the dorsal and ventral extent of saccade-related neurons was the same as that of the AChE-rich patches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1991


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Eye movements
  • Primate
  • Saccades
  • Superior colliculus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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