An electrophysiological study of pathways mediating optokinetic responses to the vestibular nucleus in the rat
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 wordsOptokinetic pathways Pretectum Prepositus hypoglossi complex N. reticularis tegmenti pontis Vestibular nuclei Rat
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