We studied the activity of saccade-related burst neurons in the central mesencephalic reticular formation (cMRF) in awake behaving monkeys. In experiment 1, we examined the activity of single neurons while monkeys performed an average of 225 delayed saccade trials that evoked gaze shifts having horizontal and vertical amplitudes between 2 and 20. All neurons studied generated high-frequency bursts of activity during some of these saccades. For each neuron, the duration and frequency of these bursts of activity reached maximal values when the monkey made movements within a restricted range of horizontal and vertical amplitudes. The onset of the movement followed the onset of the burst by the longest intervals for movements within a restricted range of horizontal and vertical amplitudes. The range of movements for which this interval was longest varied from neuron to neuron. Across the population these ranges included nearly all contraversive saccades with horizontal and vertical amplitudes between 2 and 20. In experiment 2, we used the following task to examine the low-frequency prelude of activity that cMRF neurons generate before bursting: the monkey was required to fixate a light-emitting diode (LED) while two eccentric visual stimuli were presented. After a delay, the color of the fixation LED was changed, identifying one of the two eccentric stimuli as the saccadic target. After a final unpredictable delay, the fixation LED was extinguished and the monkey was reinforced for redirecting gaze to the identified saccadic target. Some cMRF neurons flied at a low frequency during the interval after the fixation LED changed color but before it was extinguished. For many neurons; the firing rate during this interval was related to the metrics of the movement the monkey made at the end of the trial and, to a lesser degree; to the location of the eccentric stimulus to which a movement was not directed.
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