Indexed on: 23 Oct '12Published on: 23 Oct '12Published in: Journal of Neurology
The objective of the present study was to investigate cerebellar influences on cortical components of saccadic eye movement programming in human subjects. In 24 patients with a localized cerebellar lesion, saccadic eye movements were recorded in different reflexive (step, gap, overlap) and intentional (anti, memory, short memory sequences) tasks and compared to 23 healthy controls. The cerebellar lesions led to impairments in different saccade parameters. Cerebellar patients tended to show hypermetria and increased latencies compared to the control group. In particular, they executed significantly more erroneous saccades specifically in the memory task (suppression errors) but not in the anti task (pro-saccade errors). Moreover, while reproducing short sequences of saccades from memory, patients with cerebellar infarcts made more errors with regard to the sequence order than controls. The influence of cerebellar hemispheric lesions on the saccade latency, the task-specific lesion effects on the frequency of suppression errors, and the effects on the number of order errors suggest that the cerebellum is involved in cortical processes such as target selection and sequence reproduction.