Sensorimotor Activity and Metabolic Factors in Vestibular Compensation

  • M. Lacour
  • L. Ez-Zaher
  • C. Xerri


Dramatic impairments of postural, locomotor and oculomotor functions are shown following unilateral vestibular neurectomy or hemilabyrinthectomy in many species. Functional recovery develops with time, leading to a total or near complete compensation of the sensorimotor deficits. It is generally assumed that these disturbances are due to the strong imbalance between the spontaneous firing rate and the dynamic response properties of the vestibular nuclei neurons on both sides (Mc Cabe and Ryu 1969; Shimazu and Precht 1966; Precht 1974; Xerri et al. 1983; Lacour et al. 1985). During the time course of vestibular compensation, symmetrical resting rates are observed and the dynamic neuronal characteristics of the deafferented vestibular cells are partially restored (Precht et al. 1966; Pompeiano et al. 1984; Ried et al. 1984). These neurophysiological data are closely correlated with the biochemical changes observed in many central nervous structures, including the deafferented vestibular nuclei. Modifications in the energy metabolism of vestibular nuclei located on the lesioned side were shown in the rat (Llinas and Walton 1979) and in the frog (Flohr et al. 1981). By using the deoxyglucose method and by comparing the distribution of radioactivity in uncompensated and compensated animals, these authors pointed to an increase of the glucose uptake within the deafferented vestibular nuclei during the chronic stage of compensation. Assuming that metabolic activity measured as glucose uptake closely parallels functionally significant activity (Sokoloff 1977), this method provides also a good index of activity in the central nervous system.


Vestibular Nucleus Recovery Curve Vestibular Neuron Vestibular Compensation Vestibular Nucleus Neuron 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Lacour
    • 1
  • L. Ez-Zaher
    • 1
  • C. Xerri
    • 1
  1. 1.Université Aix-Marseille I, Département de PsychophysiologieU.A.-C.N.R.S. N° 372, Centre de St. JérômeMarseille Cedex 13France

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