Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 41–48 | Cite as

Vestibular nerve and nuclei unit responses and eye movement responses to repetitive galvanic stimulation of the labyrinth in the rat

  • J. H. Courjon
  • W. Precht
  • D. W. Sirkin


Two-second cathodal current pulses were applied at one-minute intervals at a point external to the round window in the ear of each albino rat subject. Responses were recorded in the vestibular nerve ganglion, the vestibular nuclei (single units), or in the eye movements (search coil recording method) of anaesthetized, decerebrated, or alert rats. The unit responses to the galvanic stimuli were characterized and compared with responses to galvanic and rotational stimuli reported in the literature. The main focus of the study, however, was effects of stimulus repetition. In both the vestibular nerve and vestibular nuclei recordings, the responses of many units were substantially larger or smaller at the end of a 13-pulse stimulus train than at the beginning. In the vestibular nuclei, but not in the nerve, there was a slight bias towards a decrease in response magnitude, with 10/88 units showing decreases great enough to be considered as reflecting an habituation process. In contrast, the eye movement responses showed more consistent response decrements, especially in the alert condition, but also in the other conditions (none of the unit recordings were done in alert rats). It is concluded that some of the modifications underlying habituation of the vestibuloocular reflex probably occur in portions of the neuronal reflex pathways that are downstream from the vestibular nuclei.

Key words

Vestibular habituation Vestibular nuclei Scarpa's ganglion Vestibuloocular reflex Galvanic stimulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Courjon
    • 1
  • W. Precht
    • 2
  • D. W. Sirkin
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Neuropsychologie ExpérimentaleINSERM Unité 94BronFrance
  2. 2.nInstitut für HirnforschungUniversität ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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