Evidence for gaze feedback to the cat superior colliculus: discharges reflect gaze trajectory perturbations.

Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A2B4.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 04/2004; 24(11):2760-73. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5120-03.2004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Rapid coordinated eye-head movements, called saccadic gaze shifts, displace the line of sight from one location to another. A critical structure in the gaze control circuitry is the superior colliculus (SC) of the midbrain, which drives gaze saccades by relaying cortical commands to brainstem eye and head motor circuits. We proposed that the SC lies within a gaze feedback loop and generates an error signal specifying gaze position error (GPE), the distance between target and current gaze positions. We investigated this feedback hypothesis in cats by briefly stopping head motion during large ( approximately 50 degrees ) gaze saccades made in the dark. This maneuver interrupted intended gaze saccades and briefly immobilized gaze (a plateau). After brake release, a corrective gaze saccade brought the gaze on goal. In the caudal SC, the firing frequency of a cell gradually increased to a maximum that just preceded the optimal gaze saccade encoded by the position of the cell and then declined back to zero near gaze saccade end. In brake trials, the activity level just preceding a brake-induced plateau continued steadily during the plateau and waned to zero only near the end of the corrective saccade. The duration of neural activity was stretched to reflect the increased time to target acquisition, and firing frequency during a plateau was proportional to the GPE of the plateau. In comparison, in the rostral SC, the duration of saccade-related pauses in fixation cell activity increased as plateau duration increased. The data show that the cat's SC lies in a gaze feedback loop and that it encodes GPE.

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    ABSTRACT: Spinal-like regulators have recently been shown to support complex behavioral patterns during volitional goal-oriented reaching paradigms. We use an interpretation of the adaptive spinal-like controller as inspiration for the development of a controller for a robotic limb. It will be demonstrated that a simulated robot arm with linear actuators can achieve biological-like limb movements. In addition, it will be shown that programmability in the regulator enables independent spatial and temporal changes to be defined for movement tasks, downstream of central commands using sensory stimuli. The adaptive spinal-like controller is the first to demonstrate such behavior for complex motor behaviors in multi-joint limb movements. Methods The controller is evaluated using a simulated robotic apparatus and three goal-oriented reaching paradigms: 1) shaping of trajectory profiles during reaching; 2) sensitivity of trajectories to sudden perturbations; 3) reaching to a moving target. The experiments were designed to highlight complex motor tasks that are omitted in earlier studies, and important for the development of improved artificial limb control. Results In all three cases the controller was able to reach the targets without a priori planning of end-point or segmental motor trajectories. Instead, trajectory spatio-temporal dynamics evolve from properties of the controller architecture using the spatial error (vector distance to goal). Results show that curvature amplitude in hand trajectory paths are reduced by as much as 98% using simple gain scaling techniques, while adaptive network behavior allows the regulator to successfully adapt to perturbations and track a moving target. An important observation for this study is that all motions resemble human-like movements with non-linear muscles and complex joint mechanics. Conclusions The controller shows that it can adapt to various behavioral contexts which are not included in previous biomimetic studies. The research supplements an earlier study by examining the tunability of the spinal-like controller for complex reaching tasks. This work is a step toward building more robust controllers for powered artificial limbs.
    BioMedical Engineering OnLine 11/2014; 13:151. DOI:10.1186/1475-925X-13-151;
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    ABSTRACT: The caudal fastigial nucleus (FN) is known to be related to the control of eye movements, and projects mainly to the contralateral reticular nuclei where excitatory (EBNs) and inhibitory burst neurons (IBNs) for saccades exist (the caudal portion of the nucleus reticularis pontis caudalis, NRPc, and the rostral portion of the nucleus reticularis gigantocellularis, NRG, respectively). However, the exact reticular neurons targeted by caudal fastigioreticular cells remain unknown. We tried to determine the target reticular neurons of the caudal FN and superior colliculus (SC) by recording intracellular potentials from neurons in the NRPc and NRG of anesthetized cats. Neurons in the rostral NRG received bilateral, monosynaptic excitation from the caudal FNs, with contralateral predominance. They also received stronger monosynaptic excitation from the caudal contralateral SC, and disynaptic excitation from the rostral ipsilateral SC. These reticular neurons with caudal fastigial monosynaptic excitation were not activated antidromically from the contralateral abducens nucleus, but most of them were reticulospinal neurons (RSNs) that were activated antidromically from the cervical cord. RSNs in the caudal NRPc received very weak monosynaptic excitation from only the contralateral caudal FN, and received either monosynaptic excitation only from the contralateral caudal SC, or monosynaptic and disynaptic excitation from the contralateral caudal and ipsilateral rostral SC, respectively. These results suggest that the caudal FN helps to control also head movements via RSNs targeted by the SC, and these RSNs with SC topographic input play different functional roles in head movements.
    Journal of Neurophysiology 11/2013; 111(4). DOI:10.1152/jn.00634.2013

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