Canal and otolith inputs to single vestibular neurons in cats.

Y. Uchino, H. Sato, K. Kushiro, M. M. Zakir, N. Isu


Convergence of both afferents from the PC and saccular macula, and those from the PC and utricular macula on single vestibular neurons was noted by use of intercellular recording from vestibular neurons. Vestibular neurons were classified VO neurons (vestibulo-ocular proper neurons), VOS (Vestibulo-oculo-spinal neurons sending axon collaterals both to the extraocular motoneuron pools and to the spinal cord), VS neurons (vestibulospinal proper neurons) and V neurons (vestibular neurons without axons to the oculomotor nuclei or the spinal cord) on the basis of whether or not they responded antidromically to stimulation of the oculomotor nuclei and the spinal cord. Of the total 143 vestibular neurons recorded in the series of experiments on convergence of the PC and saccular afferents, 47 neurons (33%) were received inputs from both the PC and saccular nerves. Twenty-six of the 47 convergent neurons were identified as having the nature of VS neurons. Half (13/26) of those were activated monosynaptically from both the PC and saccular nerves. Only one saccular-activated neuron without PC inputs sent an axon to the oculomotor nuclei. In the other series of experiments on the convergence of the PC and utricular afferents, 41 (37%) of 111 vestibular neurons were proved to converge on inputs from both nerves. The majority (35/41) of the neurons received monosynaptic inputs from the PC nerve and polysynaptic EPSP-IPSP sequences from the utricular nerve, or vice versa. The ratio of PC-otolith convergent neurons among utricular-activated neurons (41/54, 76%) was higher than that among saccular activated neurons (47/88, 53%). The percentage of utricular alone neurons without PC inputs (13/111, 12%) was less than that of the saccular alone without PC inputs (41/145, 28%). In conclusion, the convergence of canal and otolith inputs likely contribute mainly to vestibulospinal reflexes including the vestibulocollic reflex, by sending inputs to the neck and other muscles during head inclination which creates the combined stimuli of angular and linear acceleration.

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