Semicircular Canal-Otolith Organ Interaction During Off-Vertical Axis Rotation in Humans

Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213, USA.
Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Impact Factor: 2.6). 04/2001; 2(1):22-30. DOI: 10.1007/s101620010012
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study was to examine the interaction of signals from the semicircular canals and the otolith organs during off-vertical axis rotation (OVAR). We recorded horizontal eye position using electro-oculography in 22 young normal human subjects and stimulated the vestibulo-ocular reflex with both constant velocity trapezoids and sinusoidal yaw rotations, using both earth-vertical axis rotation (EVAR) and OVAR. We found that per-rotatory long vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) time constants during velocity trapezoids were shorter for OVAR than for EVAR, suggesting a reduction in the efficacy of the velocity storage system during OVAR. However, when we tested with very-low-frequency sinusoids (0.01 Hz and below), the phase lead of the VOR re head velocity was smaller during OVAR than EVAR, suggesting a longer time constant and enhanced efficacy of velocity storage during OVAR. These rotational responses can be explained by two competing influences of signals from the otolith organs, one that diminishes the effectiveness of velocity storage and another that contributes to an estimate of head velocity.

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