Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 337–348 | Cite as

An electrophysiological study of pathways mediating optokinetic responses to the vestibular nucleus in the rat

  • L. Cazin
  • J. Lannou
  • W. Precht


  1. 1)

    Intra-and extracellular responses of neurons in the pretectum (Pt), the nucleus reticularis tegmenti pontis (NRTP), the prepositus hypoglossal complex (NPH) and the vestibular nuclei (VN) were recorded during orthodromic/antidromic stimulation of their afferent/efferent fibers.

  2. 2)

    In the Pt, many neurons were excited by stimulation of the contralateral optic nerve (ONc). Comparison of the latencies of evoked presynaptic action potentials and EPSPs yielded a time difference corresponding to one synaptic delay. Forty five per cent of these monosynaptically driven neurons were also excited antidromically from the ipsilateral NRTP.

  3. 3)

    In the NRTP, ONc and Pt stimulations evoked disynaptic and monosynaptic EPSPs, respectively. Thirty six per cent of NRTP neurons orthodromically driven from ONc and/or ipsilateral Pt stimulation were also antidromically invaded from either the contralateral (67%) or the ipsilateral (33%) flocculus but never from both.

  4. 4)

    In the NPH, both ipsilateral Pt and NRTP stimulations excited type II neurons monosynaptically. In addition, EPSPs evoked by Pt stimulation could be mediated to the NPH via a disynaptic route involving the NRTP.

  5. 5)

    In the VN, type II neurons were excited by ipsilateral Pt stimulation. When comparing the latencies of action potentials and EPSPs evoked by Pt stimulation in the NPH and in VN type II neurons respectively, a short, possibly monosynaptic connection, may be postulated between the NPH and the VN.

  6. 6)

    Our results suggest that vestibular neurons may be optokinetically driven from the contralateral eye both via Pt-NPH connections and Pt-NRTP-NPH paths. They also confirm the existence of a transcerebellar route from the Pt via the NRTP to the ipsior contralateral flocculi.


Key words

Optokinetic pathways Pretectum Prepositus hypoglossi complex N. reticularis tegmenti pontis Vestibular nuclei Rat 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Berman N (1977) Connections of the pretectum in the cat. J Comp Neurol 174: 227–254Google Scholar
  2. Blanks RHI, Precht W (1984) Responses of units in the rat cerebellar flocculus during optokinetic stimulation. Exp Brain Res (in press)Google Scholar
  3. Blanks RHI, Precht W, Torigoe Y (1983) Afferent projections to the cerebellar flocculus in the pigmented rat demonstrated by retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase. Exp Brain Res 52: 293–306Google Scholar
  4. Burne RA, Azizi SA, Lihailoff GA, Woodward DJ (1981) The tectopontine projection in the rat with comments of visual pathways to the basilar pons. J Comp Neurol 202: 287–307Google Scholar
  5. Cazin L, Precht W, Lannou J (1980a) Optokinetic responses of vestibular nucleus neurons in the rat. Pflügers Arch 384: 31–38Google Scholar
  6. Cazin L, Precht W, Lannou J (1980b) Pathways mediating optokinetic responses of vestibular nucleus neurons in the rat. Pflügers Arch 384: 19–29Google Scholar
  7. Cazin L, Precht W, Lannou J (1980c) Firing characteristics of neurons mediating optokinetic responses to rat's vestibular neurons. Pflügers Arch 386: 221–230Google Scholar
  8. Cazin L, Magnin M, Lannou J (1982a) Non-cerebellar visual afferents to the vestibular nuclei involving the prepositus hypoglossal complex: an autoradiographic study in the rat. Exp Brain Res 48: 309–313Google Scholar
  9. Cazin L, Precht W, Lannou J (1982b) An electrophysiological study of the pathways from the retina to the vestiublar nuclei in the rat. Neurosci Lett (Suppl) 10: 108Google Scholar
  10. Cohen B, Matsuo V, Raphan T (1977) Quantitative analysis of the velocity characteristics of optokinetic nystagmus and optokinetic after nystagmus. J Physiol (Lond) 270: 321–344Google Scholar
  11. Collewijn H (1981) The oculomotor system of the rabbit and its plasticity: Studies of brain function. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Graybiel AM (1974) Some efferents of the pretectal region in the cat. Anat Rec 178: 365Google Scholar
  13. Hoddevik GH (1978) The projection from nucleus reticularis tegmenti pontis onto the cerebellum in the cat: A study using the methods of anterograde degeneration and retrograde axonal transport of horseradish peroxidase. Anat Embryol 153: 227–242Google Scholar
  14. Lannou J, Cazin L, Precht W, Le Taillanter M (1984) Responses of prepositus hypoglossi neurons to optokinetic and vestibular stimulations in the rat. Brain Res (in press)Google Scholar
  15. Maekawa K, Kimura M (1981a) Electrophysiological study of the nucleus of the optic tract that transfer optic signals to the nucleus reticularis tegmenti pontis — the visual mossy fiber pathway to the cerebellar flocculus. Brain Res 211: 456–462Google Scholar
  16. Maekawa K, Takeda T, Kumura M (1981b) Neuronal activity of nucleus reticularis tegmenti pontis — the origin of visual mossy fiber afferents to the cerebellar flocculus of rabbits. Brain Res 210: 17–30Google Scholar
  17. Markham CH, Precht W, Shimazu H (1966) Effect of stimulation of interstitial nucleus of Cajal on vestibular unit activity in the cat. J Neurophysiol 29: 493–507Google Scholar
  18. McCrea RA, Baker R, Delgado-Garcia (1979) Afferent and efferent organization of the prepositus hypoglossi nucleus. Prog Brain Res 50: 653–665Google Scholar
  19. Miyashita Y, Ito M, Jastroboff PJ, Maekawa K, Nagao S (1980) Effect upon eye movements of rabbits induced by severance of mossy fiber visual pathway to the cerebellar flocculus. Brain Res 192: 210–215Google Scholar
  20. Mizuno N, Mochizuki K, Akimoto C, Matsushima R (1973) Pretectal projections to the inferior olive in the rabbit. Exp Neurol 39: 498–506Google Scholar
  21. Pompeiano O, Mergner T, Corvaja N (1978) Commissural perihypoglossal and reticular afferent projections to the vestibular nuclei in the cat. An experimental anatomical study with the method of the retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase. Arch Ital Biol 116: 130–172Google Scholar
  22. Precht W, Strata PG (1980) On the pathway mediating optokinetic responses in vestibular nuclear neurons. Neuroscience 5: 777–787Google Scholar
  23. Precht W (1981) Visual-vestibular interactions in vestibular neurons: functional pathway organization. In: Cohen B (ed) Vestibular and oculomotor physiology. Internat Meeting of the Bàràny Soc NY Acad Sci 374: 230–248Google Scholar
  24. Precht W, Cazin L, Blanks RHI, Lannou J (1982) Anatomy and physiology of the optokinetic pathways to the vestibular nuclei in the rat. In: Roucoux A, Crommelinck M (eds) (Physiological and pathological aspect of eye movements, pp 153–172)Google Scholar
  25. Scalia F, Arango V (1979) Topographic organization of the projections of the retina to the pretectal region in the rat. J Comp Neurol 186: 271–292Google Scholar
  26. Shimazu H, Precht W (1966) Inhibition of central vestibular neurons from the contralateral labyrinth and its mediating pathway. J Neurophysiol 29: 467–492Google Scholar
  27. Shimazu H, Smith CM (1971) Cerebellar and labyrinthine influences on single vestibular neurons identified by natural stimuli. J Neurophysiol 34: 493–508Google Scholar
  28. Terasawa K, Otani K, Yamada J (1979) Descending pathways of the nucleus of the optic tract in the rat. Brain Res 173: 405–417Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Cazin
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Lannou
    • 1
    • 2
  • W. Precht
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Hirnforschung der Universität ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Faculté des Sciences de RouenLaboratoire de Neurophysiologie sensorielleMont-Saint-AignanFrance

Personalised recommendations