Influence of the superior colliculus on the primate blink reflex
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In this study we used microstimulation to investigate the influence of the superior colliculus on the trigeminal blink reflex. We report that stimulation in the intermediate to deep layers of the tectum produced inhibition of reflex blinks at a latency of approximately 26 ms. We considered the hypothesis that the blink inhibition was mediated via the omnipause neurons (OPNs) of the eye movement control system in the brainstem. Our results show that the least effective sites for suppression were in the rostral colliculus. This is inconsistent with the prediction that OPNs should be maximally recruited from the rostral tectum near the ”fixation zone.” From these points and other considerations, we conclude that the reflex blink suppression from the superior colliculus is not directly mediated by the OPNs or the saccadic eye movement circuits.
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