Spatial coordination by descending vestibular signals 2. Response properties of medial and lateral vestibulospinal tract neurons in alert and decerebrate cats

Y. Iwamoto, S. I. Perlmutter*, J. F. Baker, B. W. Peterson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spatial response properties of medial (MVST) and lateral (LVST) vestibulospinal tract neurons were studied in alert and decerebrate cats during sinusoidal angular rotations of the whole body in the horizontal and many vertical planes. Of 220 vestibulospinal neurons with activity modulated during 0.5-Hz sinusoidal rotations, 200 neurons exhibited response gains that varied as a cosine function of stimulus orientation and phases that were near head velocity for rotation planes far from the minimum response plane. A maximum activation direction vector (MAD), which represents the axis and direction of rotation that maximally excites the neuron, was calculated for these neurons. Spatial properties of secondary MVST neurons in alert and decerebrate animals were similar. The responses of 88 of 134 neurons (66%) could be accounted for by input from one semicircular canal pair. Of these, 84 had responses consistent with excitation from the ipsilateral canal of the pair (13 horizontal, 27 anterior, 44 posterior) and 4 with excitation from the contralateral horizontal canal. The responses of the remaining 46 (34%) neurons suggested convergent inputs. The activity of 38 of these was significantly modulated by both horizontal and vertical rotations. Twelve neurons (9%) had responses that were consistent with input from both vertical canal pairs, including 9 cells with MADs near the roll axis. Thirty-two secondary MVST neurons (24%) had type II yaw and/or roll responses. The spatial response properties of 18 secondary LVST neurons, all studied in decerebrate animals, were different from those of secondary MVST neurons. Sixteen neurons (89%) had type II yaw and/or roll responses, and 12 (67%) appeared to receive convergent canal pair input. Convergent input was more common on higher-order vestibulospinal neurons than on secondary neurons. These results suggest that MVST and LVST neurons and previously reported vestibulo-ocular neurons transmit functionally different signals. LVST neurons, particularly those with MADs close to the roll axis, may be involved in the vestibular-limb reflex. The combination of vertical and ipsilateral horizontal canal input on many secondary MVST neurons suggests a contribution to the vestibulocollic reflex. However, in contrast to most neck muscles, very few neurons had maximum vertical responses near pitch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-100
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume108
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996

Keywords

  • Cat
  • Lateral vestibulospinal tract neurons
  • Medial vestibulospinal tract neurons
  • Semicircular canal convergence
  • Vestibulospinal reflexes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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