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Pulvinar Inactivation Disrupts Selection of Movement Plans

Wilke, Melanie and Turchi, Janita and Smith, Katy and Mishkin, Mortimer and Leopold, David A. (2010) Pulvinar Inactivation Disrupts Selection of Movement Plans. Journal of Neuroscience, 30 (25). pp. 8650-8659. ISSN 0270-6474. PMCID PMC2905633.

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The coordinated movement of the eyes and hands under visual guidance is an essential part of goal-directed behavior. Several cortical areas known to be involved in this process exchange projections with the dorsal aspect of the thalamic pulvinar nucleus, suggesting that this structure may play a central role in visuomotor behavior. Here, we used reversible inactivation to investigate the role of the dorsal pulvinar in the selection and execution of visually guided manual and saccadic eye movements in macaque monkeys. We found that unilateral pulvinar inactivation resulted in a spatial neglect syndrome accompanied by visuomotor deficits including optic ataxia during visually guided limb movements. Monkeys were severely disrupted in their visually guided behavior regarding space contralateral to the side of the injection in several domains, including the following: (1) target selection in both manual and oculomotor tasks, (2) limb usage in a manual retrieval task, and (3) spontaneous visual exploration. In addition, saccades into the ipsilesional field had abnormally short latencies and tended to overshoot their mark. None of the deficits could be explained by a visual field defect or primary motor deficit. These findings highlight the importance of the dorsal aspect of the pulvinar nucleus as a critical hub for spatial attention and selection of visually guided actions.

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Additional Information:© 2010 the authors. Received Feb. 22, 2010; revised April 14, 2010; accepted May 6, 2010. This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and National Eye Institute Intramural Research Programs. We thank C. Zhu and Dr. F. Ye for help with MRI anatomical scans. We thank Dr. I. Kagan for comments on this manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)UNSPECIFIED
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)UNSPECIFIED
National Eye InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:25
PubMed Central ID:PMC2905633
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100712-140939796
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:18993
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:05 Aug 2010 21:58
Last Modified:02 Jul 2020 20:10

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