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The cerebellum is critically involved in the adaptation mechanisms that maintain the accuracy of goal-directed acts such as saccadic eye movements. Two categories of saccades, each relying on different adaptation mechanisms, are defined: reactive (externally triggered) saccades and voluntary (internally triggered) saccades. The contribution of the medio-posterior part of the cerebellum to reactive saccades adaptation has been clearly demonstrated, but the evidence that other parts of the cerebellum are also involved is limited. Moreover, the cerebellar substrates of voluntary saccades adaptation have only been marginally investigated. Here, we addressed these two questions by investigating the adaptive capabilities of patients with cerebellar or pre-cerebellar stroke. We recruited three groups of patients presenting focal lesions located, respectively, in the supero-anterior cerebellum, the infero-posterior cerebellum and the lateral medulla (leading to a Wallenberg syndrome including motor dysfunctions similar to those resulting from lesion of the medio-posterior cerebellum). Adaptations of reactive saccades and of voluntary saccades were tested during separate sessions in all patients and in a group of healthy participants. The functional lesion of the medio-posterior cerebellum in Wallenberg syndrome strongly impaired the adaptation of both reactive and voluntary saccades. In contrast, patients with lesion in the supero-anterior part of the cerebellum presented a specific adaptation deficit of voluntary saccades. Finally, patients with an infero-posterior cerebellar lesion showed mild adaptation deficits. We conclude that the medio-posterior cerebellum is critical for the adaptation of both saccade categories, whereas the supero-anterior cerebellum is specifically involved in the adaptation of voluntary saccades.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Brain Res

Publication Date





1 - 11


Adaptation, Physiological, Adult, Cerebellar Diseases, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Female, Functional Laterality, Humans, Lateral Medullary Syndrome, Male, Medulla Oblongata, Middle Aged, Neurologic Examination, Photic Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Saccades, Spinocerebellar Ataxias, Stroke