Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurophysiol. 1985 Oct;54(4):887-99.

The vestibuloocular reflex of the adult flatfish. I. Oculomotor organization.


The flatfish species constitute a natural paradigm for investigating adaptive changes in the vertebrate central nervous system. During metamorphosis all species of flatfish experience a 90 degree change in orientation between their vestibular and extraocular coordinate axes. As a result, the optic axes of both eyes maintain their orientation with respect to earth horizontal, but the horizontal semicircular canals become oriented vertically. Since the flatfish propels its body with the same swimming movements when referenced to the body as a normal fish, the horizontal canals are exposed to identical accelerations, but in the flatfish these accelerations occur in a vertical plane. The appropriate compensatory eye movements are simultaneous rotations of both eyes forward or backward (i.e., parallel), in contrast to the symmetric eye movements in upright fish (i.e., one eye moves forward, the other backward). Therefore, changes in the extraocular muscle arrangement and/or the neuronal connectivity are required. This study describes the peripheral and central oculomotor organization in the adult winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus. At the level of the peripheral oculomotor apparatus, the sizes of the horizontal extraocular muscles (lateral and medial rectus) were considerably smaller than those of the vertical eye muscles, as quantified by fiber counts and area measurements of cross sections of individual muscles. However, the spatial orientations and the kinematic characteristics of all six extraocular muscles were not different from those described in comparable lateral-eyed animals. There were no detectable asymmetries between the left and the right eye. Central oculomotor organization was investigated by extracellular horseradish peroxidase injections into individual eye muscles. Commonly described distributions of extraocular motor neurons in the oculomotor, trochlear, and abducens nuclei were found. These motor neuron pools consisted of two contralateral (superior rectus and superior oblique) and four ipsilateral populations (inferior oblique, inferior rectus, medial rectus, and lateral rectus). The labeled cells formed distinct motor neuron populations, which overlapped little. As expected, the numbers of labeled motoneurons differed in horizontal and vertical eye movers. The numerical difference was especially prominent in comparing the abducens nucleus with one of the vertical recti subdivisions. Nevertheless, there was bilateral symmetry between the motoneurons projecting to the left and right eyes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center