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Vestibular Compensation: A spinovestibular mediated process.

Jian, Brian Joobeen (2004) Vestibular Compensation: A spinovestibular mediated process. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Changes in posture are detected by the central nervous system through a number of sensory afferents. The vestibular labyrinths are one such sensor that discern rotational and accelerative movements of the head. The vestibular nuclei, the primary processor of labyrinthine input, coordinates several system outputs to maintain stable balance, visual gaze, and autonomic control in response to changes in posture. Following destruction of bilateral labyrinths, organisms are unable to effectively interact with their environment. Over time, these animals adapt due to some currently undefined process. It is our hypothesis that the observed behavioral recovery is due to a process that occurs within the vestibular nuclei. The nuclei regain their functional ability to sense changes in posture through substitution of sensory inputs from remaining non-labyrinthine afferents. Ascending spinovestibular afferents are ideal sources of plasticity, as they are ideally situated to convey this postural information. Recordings were made from the vestibular nuclei of decerebrate cats that had undergone a combined bilateral labyrinthectomy and vestibular neurectomy 49-103 days previously and allowed to recover. Responses of neurons were recorded to tilts in multiple vertical planes at frequencies ranging from 0.05 to 1 Hz and amplitudes up to 15°. The firing of 27% of the neurons was modulated by tilt. These findings show that activation of vestibular nucleus neurons during vertical rotations is not exclusively the result of labyrinthine inputs, and suggest that limb and trunk inputs may play an important role in graviception and modulating vestibular-elicited reflexes. In the second portion of this work, we examined the spinal contributions to the vestibular nuclei in both labyrinthectomized and normal animals. The large majority (72%) of vestibular nucleus neurons in labyrinth-intact animals whose firing was modulated by vertical rotations responded to electrical stimulation of limb and/or visceral nerves; the activity of even more vestibular nucleus neurons (93%) was affected by limb or visceral nerve stimulation in chronically labyrinthectomized preparations. These data suggest that nonlabyrinthine inputs elicited during movement will modulate the gain of responses elicited by the central vestibular system, and may provide for the recovery of spontaneous activity of vestibular nucleus neurons following peripheral vestibular lesions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Jian, Brian
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairYates, Bill Jbyates@pitt.eduBYATES
Committee MemberPerachio,
Committee MemberSved, Alan Fsved@bns.pitt.eduSVED
Committee MemberSchor,
Committee MemberSimons, Dancortex@pitt.eduCORTEX
Committee MemberCard, J. Patrickcard@bns.pitt.eduCARD
Date: 24 September 2004
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 27 May 2004
Approval Date: 24 September 2004
Submission Date: 19 August 2004
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Neuroscience
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: compensation; labyrinthectomy; multisensory integration; somatosensory; vestibular; visceral; plasticity; proprioception
Other ID:, etd-08192004-110017
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:00
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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