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Vestibular inputs to the fastigial nucleus; evidence of convergence of macular and ampullar inputs

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  1. 1.

    Experiments have been undertaken on 11 decerebrate cats to investigate the effects of natural vestibular stimulation on the activity of cerebellar fastigial neurons.

  2. 2.

    From recordings in the rostral portion of the nucleus during sinusoidal lateral (roll) and horizontal (yaw) rotation, distinctive patterns of response were observed.

  3. 3.

    The majority of neurons sensitive to vestibular stimulation showed responses to a single modality of vestibular activation. During lateral tilt some neurones showed positional sensitivity, others gave responses related to the velocity of movement. Other neurones responded in phase with the velocity of movement in the horizontal plane.

  4. 4.

    Aside from these neuronal responses, others provided indications of a convergence of inputs from different sets of vestibular receptors. In particular, several neurons showed a pattern of response that indicated that they received inputs from otolith receptors and ampullar receptors of the vertical canal. At low velocities of movement their response was positional but with increasing velocity the magnitude of the response increased and there was a marked phase shift of the discharge towards head velocity.

  5. 5.

    Neurons responding to horizontal rotation often showed positional responses during lateral tilt. There were also indications of a convergence of ampullar inputs from both vertical and horizontal canals.

  6. 6.

    The neural pathways mediating these responses are discussed in consideration of previous neuroanatomical and neurophysiological data. We consider it likely that several pathways may act to evoke the patterns of response observed, and a role of the cerebellar cortex is indicated.

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Favilla, M., Ghelarducci, B., Hill, C.D. et al. Vestibular inputs to the fastigial nucleus; evidence of convergence of macular and ampullar inputs. Pflugers Arch. 384, 193–201 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00584553

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Key words

  • Vestibular
  • Cerebellum
  • Macular
  • Ampullar