Labyrinthine and other supraspinal inhibitory controls over head-and-body ventroflexion

Behav Brain Res. 1991 Dec 13;46(1):99-102. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(05)80101-9.


The vestibular head righting reflex can be demonstrated by holding an adult rat vertically downward, so that the snout points downward. In this situation, the animal dorsiflexes its head and neck, bringing the head towards its normal orientation in space. Bilateral labyrinthectomy not only blocks this response, but releases an actively maintained ventroflexion of the head and neck. Bilateral electrolytic lesions of the lateral hypothalamus (LH) exaggerate such ventroflexion in labyrinthectomized rats. By themselves, LH lesions had no such effect. Therefore, it is argued that there are vestibular and supraspinal inhibitory mechanisms which, in the intact adult animal, keep this ventroflexion response in check. In addition, when the rats were held with their heads down, and with gentle paw contact with the ground, they did not ventroflex. However, they ventroflexed immediately upon releasing this paw contact. These observations suggest that there are tactile mechanisms which can also inhibit this exaggerated ventroflexion released by labyrinthectomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ear, Inner / physiology*
  • Hypothalamic Area, Lateral / physiology
  • Male
  • Pons / physiology
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Rats
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Reticular Formation / physiology