The dynamic characteristics of the mouse horizontal vestibulo-ocular and optokinetic response

Brain Res. 2001 Feb 2;890(2):296-305. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(00)03180-2.


In the present study the optokinetic reflex, vestibulo-ocular reflex and their interaction were investigated in the mouse, using a modified subconjunctival search coil technique. Gain of the ocular response to sinusoidal optokinetic stimulation was relatively constant for peak velocities lower than 8 degrees /s, ranging from 0.7 to 0.8. Gain decreased proportionally to velocity for faster stimuli. The vestibulo-ocular reflex acted to produce a sinusoidal compensatory eye movement in response to sinusoidal stimuli. The phase of the eye movement with respect to head movement advanced as stimulus frequency decreased, the familiar signature of the torsion pendulum behavior of the semicircular canals. The first-order time constant of the vestibulo-ocular reflex, as measured from the eye velocity decay after a vestibular velocity step, was 660 ms. The response of the vestibulo-ocular reflex changed with stimulus amplitude, having a higher gain and smaller phase lead when stimulus amplitude was increased. As a result of this nonlinear behavior, reflex gain correlated strongly with stimulus acceleration over the 0.1-1.6 Hz frequency range. When whole body rotation was performed in the light the optokinetic and vestibular system combined to generate nearly constant response gain (approximately 0.8) and phase (approximately 0 degrees ) over the tested frequency range of 0.1-1.6 Hz. We conclude that the compensatory eye movements of the mouse are similar to those found in other afoveate mammals, but there are also significant differences, namely shorter apparent time constants of the angular VOR and stronger nonlinearities.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology / instrumentation*
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL / physiology*
  • Models, Animal*
  • Nystagmus, Optokinetic / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology*
  • Rotation