Cortical networks subserving pursuit and saccadic eye movements in humans: an FMRI study.
High-field (3 Tesla) functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to investigate the cortical circuitry subserving pursuit tracking in humans and compare it to that for saccadic eye movements. Pursuit performance, relative to visual fixation, elicited activation in three areas known to contribute to eye movements in humans and in nonhuman primates: the frontal eye field, supplementary eye field, and intraparietal sulcus. It also activated three medial regions not previously identified in human neuroimaging studies of pursuit: the precuneus and the anterior and posterior cingulate cortices. All six areas were also activated during saccades. The spatial extent of activation was similar for saccades and pursuit in all but two regions: spatial extent was greater for saccades in the superior branch of the frontal eye field and greater for pursuit in posterior cingulate cortex. This set of activations for smooth pursuit parallels the network of oculomotor areas characterized in nonhuman primates and complements recent studies showing that common cortical networks subserve oculomotor functions and spatial attention in humans.