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J Physiol. 2014 Jan 1;592(1):203-14. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.258640. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

Velocity storage mechanism in zebrafish larvae.

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M. Ying-Yu Huang or D. Straumann: Neurology Department, University Hospital Zurich, Frauenklinikstrasse 26, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland. or


The optokinetic reflex (OKR) and the angular vestibulo-ocular reflex (aVOR) complement each other to stabilize images on the retina despite self- or world motion, a joint mechanism that is critical for effective vision. It is currently hypothesized that signals from both systems integrate, in a mathematical sense, in a network of neurons operating as a velocity storage mechanism (VSM). When exposed to a rotating visual surround, subjects display the OKR, slow following eye movements frequently interrupted by fast resetting eye movements. Subsequent to light-off during optokinetic stimulation, eye movements do not stop abruptly, but decay slowly, a phenomenon referred to as the optokinetic after-response (OKAR). The OKAR is most likely generated by the VSM. In this study, we observed the OKAR in developing larval zebrafish before the horizontal aVOR emerged. Our results suggest that the VSM develops prior to and without the need for a functional aVOR. It may be critical to ocular motor control in early development as it increases the efficiency of the OKR.

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