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J Physiol. 2014 Jan 1;592(1):171-88. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.259614. Epub 2013 Oct 14.

Diversity of vestibular nuclei neurons targeted by cerebellar nodulus inhibition.

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D. Angelaki: Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


A functional role of the cerebellar nodulus and ventral uvula (lobules X and IXc,d of the vermis) for vestibular processing has been strongly suggested by direct reciprocal connections with the vestibular nuclei, as well as direct vestibular afferent inputs as mossy fibres. Here we have explored the types of neurons in the macaque vestibular nuclei targeted by nodulus/ventral uvula inhibition using orthodromic identification from the caudal vermis. We found that all nodulus-target neurons are tuned to vestibular stimuli, and most are insensitive to eye movements. Such non-eye-movement neurons are thought to project to vestibulo-spinal and/or thalamo-cortical pathways. Less than 20% of nodulus-target neurons were sensitive to eye movements, suggesting that the caudal vermis can also directly influence vestibulo-ocular pathways. In general, response properties of nodulus-target neurons were diverse, spanning the whole continuum previously described in the vestibular nuclei. Most nodulus-target cells responded to both rotation and translation stimuli and only a few were selectively tuned to translation motion only. Other neurons were sensitive to net linear acceleration, similar to otolith afferents. These results demonstrate that, unlike the flocculus and ventral paraflocculus which target a particular cell group, nodulus/ventral uvula inhibition targets a large diversity of cell types in the vestibular nuclei, consistent with a broad functional significance contributing to vestibulo-ocular, vestibulo-thalamic and vestibulo-spinal pathways.

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