Reappraisal of the human vestibular cortex by cortical electrical stimulation study

Ann Neurol. 2003 Nov;54(5):615-24. doi: 10.1002/ana.10726.


The cortical areas with vestibular input in humans were assessed by electrical stimulation in 260 patients with partial epilepsy who had undergone stereotactic intracerebral electroencephalogram recordings before surgery. Vestibular symptoms were electrically induced on 44 anatomical sites in 28 patients. The patients experienced illusions of rotation (yaw plane: 18, pitch plane: 6, roll plane: 6), translations (n = 6), or indefinable feelings of body motion (n = 8). Almost all vestibular sites were located in the cortex (41/44): in the temporal (n = 19), parietal (n = 14), frontal (n = 5), occipital (n = 2), and insular (n = 1) lobes. Among these sites, we identified a lateral cortical temporoparietal area we called the temporo-peri-Sylvian vestibular cortex (TPSVC), from which vestibular symptoms, and above all rotatory sensations, were particularly easily elicited (24/41 cortical sites, 58.5%). This area extended above and below the Sylvian fissure, mainly inside Brodmann areas 40, 21, and 22. It included the parietal operculum (9/24 TPSVC sites) which was particularly sensitive for eliciting pitch plane illusions, and the mid and posterior part of the first and second temporal gyri (15/24 TPSVC sites) which preferentially caused yaw plane illusions. We suggest that the TPSVC could be homologous with the monkey's parietoinsular vestibular cortex.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsies, Partial / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / anatomy & histology
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology*