A structural basis for Hering's law: projections to extraocular motoneurons

Science  01 Jun 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4959, pp. 1118-1119
DOI: 10.1126/science.2343316


Conjugate eye movements are executed through the concurrent activation of several muscles in both eyes. The neural mechanisms that underlie such synergistic muscle activations have been a matter of considerable experimentation and debate. In order to investigate this issue, the projections of a class of primate premotoneuronal cells were studied, namely, the vertical medium-lead burst neurons (VMLBs), which drive vertical rapid eye movements. Axons of upward VMLBs ramify bilaterally within motoneuron pools that supply the superior rectus and inferior oblique muscles of both eyes. Axons of downward VMLBs ramify ipsilaterally in the inferior rectus portion of the oculomotor nucleus and in the trochlear nucleus. Thus, VMLBs can drive vertical motoneuron pools of both eyes during conjugate vertical rapid eye movements; these data support Hering's law.