Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 123–138 | Cite as

Nystagmus induced by electrical stimulation of the vestibular and prepositus hypoglossi nuclei in the monkey: evidence for site of induction of velocity storage

  • Jun-Ichi Yokota
  • Harvey Reisine
  • Bernard Cohen


Electrical stimulation of the vestibular nuclei (VN) and prepositus hypoglossi nuclei (PPH) of alert cynomolgus monkeys evoked nystagmus and eye deviation while they were in darkness. At some sites in VN, nystagmus and after-nystagmus were induced with characteristics suggesting that velocity storage had been excited. We analyzed these responses and compared them to the slow component of optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) and to optokinetic after-nystagmus (OKAN). We then recorded unit activity in VN and determined which types of nystagmus would be evoked from the sites of recording. Nystagmus and eye deviations were also elicited by electrical stimulation of PPH, and we characterized the responses where unit activity was recorded in PPH. Horizontal slow phase velocity of the VN “storage” responses was contralateral to the side of stimulation. The rising time constants and peak steady-state velocities were similar to those of OKN, and the falling time constants of the after-nystagmus and of OKAN were approximately equal. Both the induced after-nystagmus and OKAN were habituated by stimulation of the VN. When horizontal after-nystagmus was evoked with animals on their sides, it developed yaw and pitch components that tended to shift the vector of the slow phase velocity toward the spatial vertical. Similar “cross-coupling” occurs for horizontal OKAN or for vestibular post-rotatory nystagmus elicited in tilted positions. Thus, the storage component of nystagmus induced by VN stimulation had the same characteristics as the slow component of OKN and the VOR. Positive stimulus sites for inducing nystagmus with typical storage components were located in rostral portions of VN. They lay in caudal ventral superior vestibular nucleus (SVN), dorsal portions of central medial vestibular nucleus (MVN) caudal to the abducens nuclei and in adjacent lateral vestibular nucleus (LVN). More complex stimulus responses, but with contralateral after-nystagmus, were induced from surrounding regions of ventral MVN and LVN, rostral descending vestibular nucleus and the marginal zone between MVN and PPH. Vestibular-only (VO), vestibular plus saccade (VPS) and tonic vestibular pause (TVP) units were identified by extracellular recording. Stimulation near type I lateral and vertical canalrelated VO units elicited typical “storage” responses with after-nystagmus in 23 of 29 tracks (79%). Stimulus responses were more complex from the region of neurons with oculomotor-related signals, i.e., TVP or VPS cells, although after-nystagmus was also elicited from these sites. Effects of vestibular nerve and nucleus stimulation were compared. Nerve stimulation evoked nystagmus with both a rapid and slow component and after-nystagmus. There was a more prominent rapid rise in slow phase velocity, higher peak velocities, shorter latencies and a shorter falling time constant from nerve than from nucleus stimulation. This indicates more prominent activation of rapid pathways from nerve stimulation. From a comparison of nerve- and nucleus-induced nystagmus, we infer that there was predominant activation of the network responsible for velocity storage by electrical stimulation at many sites in the VN. Microstimulation at sites in PPH elicited nystagmus with ipsilateral slow phases or ipsilateral eye deviations. Slow phase eye velocity changed rapidly at the onset of nystagmus, and peak eye velocities were about 10–15°/s lower than from VN stimulation. The nystagmus had no slow component, and it was not followed by after-nystagmus. Only burst or burst-tonic neurons were recorded in PPH. Stimulation at sites of recording of these units induced either nystagmus with a rapid component or ipsilateral eye deviation. We conclude that the slow component of optokinetic and vestibular nystagmus, attributable to velocity storage is produced in the VN, not in the PPH. We postulate that VO neurons lying in caudal ventral portions of SVN, dorsal portions of MVN and adjacent LVN are part of the network that generates velocity storage.

Key words

Velocity storage integrator Vestibular nuclei Prepositus hypoglossi nuclei Optokinetic nystagmus Monkey 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun-Ichi Yokota
    • 1
  • Harvey Reisine
    • 1
  • Bernard Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Neurology and Physiology & BiophysicsMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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