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Exp Brain Res. 1994;100(2):316-27.

Short-term vestibulo-ocular reflex adaptation in humans. I. Effect on the ocular motor velocity-to-position neural integrator.

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Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287-6921.


We investigated the effect of short-term vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) adaptation in normal human subjects on the dynamic properties of the velocity-to-position ocular motor integrator that holds positions of gaze. Subjects sat in a sinusoidally rotating chair surrounded by an optokinetic nystagmus drum. The movement of the visual surround (drum) was manipulated relative to the chair to produce an increase (x 1.7 viewing), decrease (x 0.5, x 0 viewing), or reversal (x (-2.5) viewing) of VOR gain. Before and after 1 h of training, VOR gain and gaze-holding after eccentric saccades in darkness were measured. Depending on the training paradigm, eccentric saccades could be followed by centrifugal drift (after x 0.5 viewing), implying an unstable integrator, or by centripetal drift [after x 1.7 or x (-2.5) viewing], implying a leaky integrator. The changes in the neural integrator appear to be context specific, so that when the VOR was tested in non-training head orientations, both the adaptive change in VOR gain and the changes in the neural integrator were much smaller. The changes in VOR gain were on the order of 10% and the induced drift velocities were several degrees per second at 20 deg eccentric positions in the orbit. We propose that (1) the changes in the dynamic properties of the neural integrator reflect an attempt to modify the phase (timing) relationships of the VOR and (2) the relative directions of retinal slip and eye velocity during head rotation determine whether the integrator becomes unstable (and introduces more phase lag) or leaky (and introduces less phase lag).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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