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Annu Rev Neurosci. 1979;2:265-89.

Vestibular mechanisms.

Abstract

It is apparent from this and other reviews of the subject that our knowledge of vestibular function is most complete for the primary canal and otolithic afferents. Relatively little progress has been made in the understanding of receptor mechanisms and the functional importance of the efferent vestibular system. Since most of it has been summarized previously the latter were not considered here. Considerably more knowledge has accumulated in the field of central vestibular mechanisms, particularly those related to eye movements. Recent advances in functional synaptology of direct and indirect vestibuloocular pathways are described. It appears that the indirect pathways are essential for the central integration of the peripheral head velocity into a central eye position signal. Candidates for the neural integrator are presented and discussed and their connectivity described both for the horizontal and the relatively poorly studied vertical eye movement system. This field will certainly be studied extensively during the next years. Another interesting field is the role of the cerebellum in the control the vestibuloocular reflex. Recent data and hypotheses, including the problem of cerebellar plasticity, are summarized and evaluated. That the vestibular nuclei are by no means a simple relay system for specific vestibular signals destined for other sensory or motor centers is evidenced in this review by the description of multiple canal-canal, canalotolith, and visual-vestibular convergence at the nuclear level. Canal-otolith and polysensory convergence in vestibular neurons enables them to correct for the inherent inadequacies of the peripheral canal system in the low frequency range. The mechanisms of polysensory interaction in the central vestibular system will undoubtedly be an important and interesting field for future research.

PMID:
120130
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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