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Exp Brain Res. 1999 Mar;125(1):1-13.

Cortical influences on the vestibular nuclei of the cat.

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1
The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA. vwilson@rockvax.rockefeller.edu

Abstract

Our goal was to study potential substrates for cortical modulation of vestibular reflexes in the cat. In initial experiments, injections of wheat-germ-agglutinate-horseradish-peroxidase into Deiters' nucleus and the rostral descending nucleus revealed bilateral colonies of retrogradely filled neurons in cortical areas 6, 2, and 3a (about 60 cells per colony). In cats anesthetized with chloralose-urethane, we stimulated areas 2 and 3a with trains of pulses while recording from ipsilateral vestibular-nucleus neurons, which were characterized by their responses to sinusoidal tilts and tested for the presence of antidromic responses to stimulation of the upper cervical cord. A majority of the neurons was affected by cortical stimulation, showing either facilitation, inhibition, or a mixture of the two. Stimulation in area 2 was more effective than stimulation in area 3a. Despite the anatomic presence of direct cortico-vestibular projections, properties of facilitation and inhibition suggest that both were evoked by polysynaptic pathways. Cortical effects were broadly distributed to vestibular neurons without regard to responses of these neurons to sinusoidal tilts. There was no significant difference between effects on lateral and medial vestibulospinal tract neurons, but, as a group, vestibulospinal neurons were much more likely to be affected by cortical stimulation than neurons not antidromically activated from the C2 segment. We conclude that, by their influence on vestibulospinal neurons, neurons in cortical areas 2 and 3a should be able to modulate, in behaving animals, vestibular reflexes acting on the neck and limbs.

PMID:
10100970
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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