alexa Role of the flocculus and paraflocculus in optokinetic nystagmus and visual-vestibular interactions: effects of lesions.


Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy

Author(s): Waespe W, Cohen B, Raphan T

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Abstract Optokinetic nystagmus (OKN), optokinetic after-nystagmus (OKAN), vestibular nystagmus and visual-vestibular interactions were studied in monkeys after surgical ablation of the flocculus and paraflocculus. After bilateral flocculectomy the initial rapid rise in slow phase eye velocity of horizontal and vertical OKN was severely attenuated, and maximum velocities fell to the preoperative saturation level of OKAN. There is generally little or no upward OKAN in the normal monkey, and upward OKN was lost after bilateral lesions. Unilateral flocculectomy affected the rapid rise in horizontal velocity to both sides. Consistent with the absence of a rapid response to steps of surround velocity, animals were unable to follow acceleration of the visual field with eye accelerations faster than about 3-5 degrees/s2. The slow rise in OKN slow phase velocity to a steady state level was prolonged after operation. However, rates of rise were approximately equal for the same initial retinal slips before and after operation. The similarity in the time course of OKN when adjusted for initial retinal slip, and in the gain, saturation level and time course of OKAN before and after flocculectomy indicates that the lesions had not significantly altered the coupling of the visual system to the velocity storage integrator or its associated time constant. When animals were rotated in a subject-stationary visual surround after flocculectomy, they could not suppress the initial jump in eye velocity at the onset of the step. Despite this, they could readily suppress the subsequent nystagmus. The time constant of decline in the conflict situations was almost as short as in the normal monkey and was in the range of the peripheral vestibular time constant. This suggests that although the animals were unable to suppress rapid changes in eye velocity due to activation of direct vestibulo-oculomotor pathways, they had retained their ability to discharge activity from the velocity storage mechanism. Consistent with this, animals had no difficulty in suppressing OKAN after flocculectomy. Visual-vestibular interactions utilizing the velocity storage mechanism were normal after flocculectomy, as was nystagmus induced by rotation about a vertical axis or about axes tilted from the vertical. Also unaffected were the discharge of nystagmus caused by tilting the head out of the plane of the response and visual suppression of nystagmus induced by off-vertical axis rotation. The flocculus does not appear to play an important role in mediating these responses. The data before and after flocculectomy were simulated by a model which is homeomorphic to that presented previously.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
This article was published in Exp Brain Res and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy

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