Motor Systems

The Brainstem Oculomotor System and Mechanisms of Motor Atonia in REM Sleep
  • Mircea Steriade
  • Robert W. McCarley


The first seven sections of this chapter review the brainstem oculomotor system, and the last sections review mechanisms involved in production of the muscle atonia of REM sleep. With respect to the oculomotor system, conjugate eye movements include saccades, pursuit movements, and the eye movements associated with optokinetic and vestibular nystagmus. In this chapter we review in some depth the brainstem role in production of one of these conjugate eye movements, saccades, since these play such a prominent role in both waking and REM sleep, and much has been learned about their brainstem mechanisms.


Superior Colliculus Burst Neuron Pontine Reticular Formation Abducens Nucleus Reticular Neuron 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mircea Steriade
    • 1
  • Robert W. McCarley
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculté de MédecineUniversité LavalCanada
  2. 2.Veterans Administration Medical CenterHarvard Medical SchoolBrocktonUSA

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