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Exp Brain Res. 2004 Mar;155(1):81-90. Epub 2003 Nov 11.

Spatial tuning and dynamics of vestibular semicircular canal afferents in rhesus monkeys.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.
WA U Sch Med, St Louis, MO


Rotational head motion in vertebrates is detected by the three semicircular canals of the vestibular system whose innervating primary afferent fibers encode movement information in specific head planes. In order to further investigate the nature of vestibular central processing of rotational motion in rhesus monkeys, it was first necessary to quantify afferent information coding in this species. Extracellular recordings were performed to determine the spatial and dynamic properties of semicircular canal afferents to rotational motion in awake rhesus monkeys. We found that the afferents innervating specific semicircular canals had maximum sensitivity vectors that were mutually orthogonal. Similar to other species, afferent response dynamics varied, with regular firing afferents having increased long time constants ( t(1)), decreased cupula velocity time constants ( t(v)), and decreased fractional order dynamic operator values ( s(k)) as compared to irregular firing afferents.

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