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Prog Brain Res. 2008;171:167-72. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(08)00622-5.

Lesions of the cerebellar nodulus and uvula in monkeys: effect on otolith-ocular reflexes.

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Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.


We studied two rhesus monkeys before and after surgical ablation of the nodulus and uvula (Nod/Uv) of the cerebellum. Three-axis eye movements were recorded with the magnetic-field scleral search coil system during a variety of vestibular and ocular motor tasks. Here we describe the effects of the Nod/Uv lesions on dynamic (head translation) and static (head tilt) otolith-mediated vestibulo-ocular reflexes. The main findings were: 1. eye velocity during sinusoidal vertical translation (1.5 Hz) was reduced by 59% in the dark and 36% in the light; 2. eye velocity during steps of horizontal translation was reduced, but only in the dark and more so during the sustained (constant velocity) than the initial (acceleration) part of the response, and 3. there was a torsional nystagmus that depended on the position of roll head tilt, but static ocular counterroll was unchanged. These results suggest new roles for the Nod/Uv in the processing of otolith signals. This is likely important not only for facilitating gaze during linear head motion, but also for maintaining postural stability and one's orientation relative to gravity. The lesions appeared to have a greater effect on responses to vertical motion, particularly in the light (in contrast, responses to interaural translation in the light were nearly normal), suggesting a particular importance of the Nod/Uv in processing signals arising from the sacculi.

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