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Adam Pallus, Michael Mustari, Mark M. G. Walton; Abnormal Eye Position Signals in Interstitial Nucleus of Cajal in Monkeys With “A” Pattern Strabismus. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(12):3970-3979. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.19-27490.
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Pattern strabismus is characterized by a cross-axis pattern of horizontal and vertical misalignments. In A-pattern strabismus, for example, a divergent change in the horizontal misalignment occurs on downgaze. Work with nonhuman primate models has provided evidence that this disorder is associated with abnormal cross-talk between brainstem pathways that normally encode horizontal and vertical eye position and velocity. Neurons in the interstitial nucleus of Cajal (INC) are normally sensitive to vertical eye position; in the present study, we test the hypothesis that, in monkeys with pattern strabismus, some INC neurons will show an abnormal sensitivity to horizontal eye position.
Monkeys were rewarded for fixating a visual target that stepped to various locations on a tangent screen. Single neurons were recorded from INC in one normal monkey, and two with A-pattern strabismus. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to estimate the preferred direction for each neuron.
In the normal monkey, all INC neurons had preferred directions within 20° of pure vertical (either up or down). The preferred directions were significantly more variable in the monkeys with pattern strabismus, with a minority being more sensitive to horizontal eye position than vertical eye position. In addition, the vertical eye position sensitivity was significantly less in the monkeys with strabismus.
In pattern strabismus, neurons in INC show neurophysiological abnormalities consistent with a failure to develop normal tuning properties. Results were consistent with the hypothesis that, in pattern strabismus, INC receives an abnormally strong signal related to horizontal eye position.
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