The effect of otolith and semicircular canal convergence on the VOR during eccentric rotation.

L. Fuhry, J. Nedvidek, C. Haburcakova, S. Glasauer, G. Brozek, U. Buttner


VOR gain modulation was systematically investigated in the Rhesus monkey (M. mulatta) during centric and variable eccentric (up to 50 cm) sinusoidal rotation (4 Hz, 0.75 degree) with the nose facing in- or outward to test convergence of otolith and semicircular canal afferences. Earth-stationary lit LED-targets were placed at different distances (12-180 cm) from the monkey. Results were compared to biological demands. During centric rotation at 4 Hz when smooth pursuit mechanisms do not play a role, VOR gain--as expected--was approximately 1 without dependence on target distance. Phase of VOR and centrifuge were shifted by about 180 degrees as was predicted. If the monkey was rotated eccentrically with the nose facing outward the expected gain enhancement for close targets was obtained. Maximal experimental VOR gain during 4 Hz rotation was 4.4 which was close to demand at 50 cm eccentricity and 15 cm target distance (predicted gain: 4.6). If the nose points inward three situations have to be distinguished from simulation: (1) target behind the axis of rotation--VOR gain decrement should occur; (2) target on the axis of rotation--"inverse VOR suppression"; (3) target between monkey and axis of rotation--phase reversal. Experimentally, VOR gain decrement was obtained (situation 1). VOR gain was minimal (but not zero) for targets around the axis of rotation (situation 2). Situation 3 has not been investigated in detail so far.

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