Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 155, Issue 2, pp 245–250 | Cite as

Vestibular influences on CA1 neurons in the rat hippocampus: an electrophysiological study in vivo

  • Arata Horii
  • Noah A. Russell
  • Paul F. Smith
  • Cynthia L. Darlington
  • David K. Bilkey
Research Article


Vestibular information is known to be important for accurate spatial orientation and navigation. Hippocampal place cells, which appear to encode an animal’s location within the environment, are also thought to play an essential role in spatial orientation. Therefore, it can be hypothesized that vestibular information may influence cornu ammonis region 1 (CA1) hippocampal neuronal activity. To explore this possibility, the effects of electrical stimulation of the medial vestibular nucleus (MVN) on the firing rates of hippocampal CA1 neurons in the urethane-anesthetized rat were investigated using extracellular single unit recordings. The firing rates of CA1 complex spike cells (n=29), which most likely correspond to place cells, consistently increased during electrical stimulation of the MVN in a current intensity dependent manner. Stimulation applied adjacent to the MVN failed to elicit a response. Overall, the firing rates of non-complex spike cells (n=22) did not show a consistent response to vestibular stimulation, although in some cells clear responses to the stimulation were observed. These findings suggest that vestibular inputs may contribute to spatial information processing in the hippocampus.


Hippocampus Place cell Vestibular Spatial navigation 



This study was supported by grants from the Marsden Fund (to DKB), the New Zealand Neurological Foundation (to PFS and CLD), and the Health Research Council of New Zealand (to PFS and CLD). AH continued to receive support from Osaka University Medical School while on leave from that institution.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arata Horii
    • 1
    • 2
  • Noah A. Russell
    • 3
  • Paul F. Smith
    • 1
  • Cynthia L. Darlington
    • 1
  • David K. Bilkey
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medical SciencesUniversity of Otago Medical SchoolDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of OtolaryngologyOsaka University Medical SchoolOsakaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Psychology and the Neuroscience Research CentreUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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