Directional asymmetry of the horizontal monocular head and eye optokinetic nystagmus: effects of picrotoxin

Vision Res. 1990;30(4):549-55. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(90)90067-u.


Frog monocular eye and head optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) were studied by coil recordings after intravitreal administration of picrotoxin into the closed eye. Before injection, the frog displayed an OKN only for stimulations in the temporo-nasal (T-N) direction. The injection of picrotoxin provoked the appearance of a N-T component of the head and eye OKN: the slow phase velocity gain and the resetting fast phase frequency were strongly and significantly increased. Thus, picrotoxin abolished the directional asymmetry of head and eye OKN, indicating the involvement of GABAergic mechanisms in the inhibition of the N-T component of the monocular eye and head OKN. Picrotoxin administration had an additional effect on the monocular head OKN only, the performances (measured by the velocity gain and the frequency of resetting fast phases) were markedly increased for both directions of stimulation, suggesting an effect of the drug upon the motor output of head movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • GABA Antagonists
  • Head
  • Movement / physiology
  • Nystagmus, Physiologic / drug effects*
  • Picrotoxin / pharmacology*
  • Rana esculenta
  • Time Factors


  • GABA Antagonists
  • Picrotoxin