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J Neurophysiol. 2003 May;89(5):2639-46.

Cortical projection of peripheral vestibular signaling.

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  • 1Positron Emission Tomographic Centre, University of Debrecen, Medical and Health Science Center, Hungary.


The cerebral projection of vestibular signaling was studied by using PET with a special differential experimental protocol. Caloric vestibular stimulation (CVS)-induced regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) changes were investigated in two populations. Butanol perfusion scans were carried out on six healthy volunteers and on six patients following the removal of tumors from the right cerebello pontine angle. The complete loss of the vestibular function postoperatively allowed a comparison of the rCBF changes in the populations with or without this input and offered a promising functional approach whereby to delineate the cortical region most responsive to pure vestibular input. The activations by left-sided and right-sided CVS were determined for both the healthy volunteers and the patient population. Statistical analysis of the data obtained following left-sided CVS did not reveal any cerebral region for which there was a significant difference in CVS-induced response by these two populations. In the case of right-sided CVS, however, the statistical comparison of the CVS-related responses demonstrated a single contralateral area characterized by a significantly different degree of response. This cortical area corresponds to part of the cortical region described recently which can be activated by both CVS and neck vibration. It appears to be anatomically identical to the aggregate of the somatosensory area SII and the retroinsular cortex described in primates, a region identified by other investigators as an analog of the parietoinsular vestibular cortex.

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