Show Reference: "Motor Functions of the Superior Colliculus"

Motor Functions of the Superior Colliculus Annual Review of Neuroscience, Vol. 34, No. 1. (2011), pp. 205-231, doi:10.1146/annurev-neuro-061010-113728 by Neeraj J. Gandhi, Husam A. Katnani
    abstract = {The mammalian superior colliculus ({SC}) and its nonmammalian homolog, the optic tectum, constitute a major node in processing sensory information, incorporating cognitive factors, and issuing motor commands. The resulting action—to orient toward or away from a stimulus—can be accomplished as an integrated movement across oculomotor, cephalomotor, and skeletomotor effectors. The {SC} also participates in preserving fixation during intersaccadic intervals. This review highlights the repertoire of movements attributed to {SC} function and analyzes the significance of results obtained from causality-based experiments (microstimulation and inactivation). The mechanisms potentially used to decode the population activity in the {SC} into an appropriate movement command are also discussed.},
    author = {Gandhi, Neeraj J. and Katnani, Husam A.},
    citeulike-article-id = {9922296},
    citeulike-linkout-0 = {},
    citeulike-linkout-1 = {},
    citeulike-linkout-2 = {},
    citeulike-linkout-3 = {},
    doi = {10.1146/annurev-neuro-061010-113728},
    issn = {1545-4126},
    journal = {Annual Review of Neuroscience},
    keywords = {biology, deep-sc, eye-movements, motor, saccades, sc},
    number = {1},
    pages = {205--231},
    pmid = {21456962},
    posted-at = {2015-01-05 08:55:13},
    priority = {2},
    title = {Motor Functions of the Superior Colliculus},
    url = {},
    volume = {34},
    year = {2011}

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(Retinal) visual input to the left SC mainly originates in the retina of the right eye and vice-versa.

Certain neurons in the deep SC emit bursts of activity before making a saccade.

Currently, three types of saccade-related neurons are distinguished in the deep SC:

  • Burst- and build-up neurons on the one hand,
  • fixation neurons on the other.

Microstimulation of OT neurons in the barn owl can evoke pupil dilation.

Neurons in the deep SC whose activity spikes before a saccade have preferred amplitudes and directions: Each of these neurons spikes strongest before a saccade with these properties and less strongly before different saccades.

The SC also seems to be involved in reaching and other forelimb-related motor tasks and has been associated with complex vision-guided arm-gestures in humans.

The SC is also involved in eye, head, whole-body, ear, whisker and other body movements.