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Suraj Upadhyaya, Vallabh E. Das; Response Properties of Cells Within the Rostral Superior Colliculus of Strabismic Monkeys. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(13):4292-4302. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.19-27786.
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The superior colliculus (SC) is an important oculomotor structure which, in addition to saccades and smooth-pursuit, has been implicated in vergence. Previously we showed that electrical stimulation of the SC changes strabismus angle in monkey models. The purpose of this study was to record from neurons in the rostral SC (rSC) of two exotropic (XT; divergent strabismus) monkeys (M1, M2) and characterize their response properties, including possible correlation with strabismus angle.
Binocular eye movements and neural data were acquired as the monkeys performed fixation and saccade tasks with either eye viewing.
Forty-two cells with responses likely related to eye misalignment were recorded from the rSC of the strabismic monkeys of which 29 increased firing for smaller angles of exotropia and 13 increased firing for larger exotropia. Twenty-six of thirty-five cells showed a pause (decrease in firing rate) during large amplitude saccades. Blanking the target briefly during fixation did not reduce firing responses indicating a lack of visual sensitivity. A bursting response for nystagmus quick phases was identified in cells whose topographic location matched the direction and amplitude of quick phases.
Certain cells in the rSC show responses related to eye misalignment suggesting that the SC is part of a vergence circuit that plays a role in setting strabismus angle. An alternative interpretation is that these cells display ocular preference, also a novel finding, and could potentially act as a driver of downstream oculomotor structures that maintain the state of strabismus.
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