Reduction of the time constant in the VOR as a protective mechanism in acute vestibular lesions

Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 1989;468:329-32. doi: 10.3109/00016488909139070.


Fourteen patients with vestibular neuritis were examined at onset of symptoms and after one year. Postrotatory time constant and gain in the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) were measured after rotation with a velocity step of 150 deg/s. There was no significant difference in gain towards the healthy side at onset of the disease compared to recordings after one year. The time constant towards the healthy side was significantly shorter at onset compared to measurements after one year. The results reflect the loss of unilateral vestibular function on the velocity storage mechanism, both in the acute situation and after compensation. The findings indicate that reduction of the time constant in the VOR is not only due to unilaterally vestibular impairment but it is also an effect of the generally reduced activity in the vestibular system after a lesion and may act as protective mechanism in acute vertigo.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Humans
  • Neuritis / physiopathology*
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular*
  • Rotation
  • Time Factors
  • Vestibular Function Tests
  • Vestibular Nerve / physiopathology*