Intrinsic membrane properties of central vestibular neurons in rodents

Exp Brain Res. 2011 May;210(3-4):423-36. doi: 10.1007/s00221-011-2569-3. Epub 2011 Feb 18.


Numerous studies in rodents have shown that the functional efficacy of several neurotransmitter receptors and the intrinsic membrane excitability of central vestibular neurons, as well as the organization of synaptic connections within and between vestibular nuclei can be modified during postnatal development, after a lesion of peripheral vestibular organs or in vestibular-deficient mutant animals. This review mainly focuses on the intrinsic membrane properties of neurons of the medial vestibular nuclei of rodents, their postnatal maturation, and changes following experimental or congenital alterations in vestibular inputs. It also presents the concomitant modifications in the distribution of these neurons into different neuron types, which has been based on their membrane properties in relation to their anatomical, biochemical, or functional properties. The main points discussed in this review are that (1) the intrinsic membrane properties can be used to distinguish between two dominant types of neurons, (2) the system remains plastic throughout the whole life of the animal, and finally, (3) the intracellular calcium concentration has a major effect on the intrinsic membrane properties of central vestibular neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rodentia
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / cytology*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Vestibular Nuclei / cytology*
  • Vestibular Nuclei / growth & development


  • Calcium