Deficits and recovery in visuospatial memory during head motion after bilateral labyrinthine lesion.

Department of Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
Journal of Neurophysiology (Impact Factor: 3.04). 10/2006; 96(3):1676-82. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00012.2006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To keep a stable internal representation of the environment as we move, extraretinal sensory or motor cues are critical for updating neural maps of visual space. Using a memory-saccade task, we studied whether visuospatial updating uses vestibular information. Specifically, we tested whether trained rhesus monkeys maintain the ability to update the conjugate and vergence components of memory-guided eye movements in response to passive translational or rotational head and body movements after bilateral labyrinthine lesion. We found that lesioned animals were acutely compromised in generating the appropriate horizontal versional responses necessary to update the directional goal of memory-guided eye movements after leftward or rightward rotation/translation. This compromised function recovered in the long term, likely using extravestibular (e.g., somatosensory) signals, such that nearly normal performance was observed 4 mo after the lesion. Animals also lost their ability to adjust memory vergence to account for relative distance changes after motion in depth. Not only were these depth deficits larger than the respective effects on version, but they also showed little recovery. We conclude that intact labyrinthine signals are functionally useful for proper visuospatial memory updating during passive head and body movements.

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