We measured the effect of static lateral tilt (roll) on the gain and time constant of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) in five normal subjects by recording both the horizontal and vertical components of eye velocity in space for rotation about an earth vertical axis with the head either upright or rolled to either side. The time constant of the VOR in the upright position was 19.6 ±3.2s (mean ± standard deviation). The time constant of the horizontal component with respect to the head decreased to 15.7±4.0s for 30° roll and to 12.7±2.7s for 60° roll. The time constant of the vertical component with respect to the head was 11.0±1.4 s for 30° roll and 7.5±1.6 s for 60° roll. The gain of the horizontal VOR with respect to space did not vary significantly with roll angle but a small space-vertical component to the VOR appeared during all rotations when the head was rolled away from upright. This non-compensatory nystagmus built up to a maximum of 2-3°/s at 17.0±4.7s after the onset of rotation and then decayed. These data suggest that static otolith input modulates the central storage of semicircular canal signals, and that head-horizontal and head-vertical components of the VOR can decay at different rates.
- Semicircular canal
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