Long term visuo-vestibular mismatch in freely behaving mice differentially affects gaze stabilizing reflexes

Sci Rep. 2020 Nov 18;10(1):20018. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-77026-w.

Abstract

The vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) and the optokinetic reflex (OKR) work synergistically to stabilize gaze in response to head movements. We previously demonstrated that a 14-day visuo-vestibular mismatch (VVM) protocol applied in freely behaving mice decreased the VOR gain. Here, we show for the first time that the OKR gain is also reduced and report on the recovery dynamics of both VOR and OKR after the end of the VVM protocol. Using sinusoidally-modulated stimulations, the decreases in VOR and OKR were found to be frequency-selective with larger reductions for frequencies < 0.5 Hz. Constant-velocity OKR stimulation tests demonstrated that the persistent components of the OKR were not modified while the transient, initial responses were. To identify the signals driving VOR and OKR reductions, we compared the responses of mice exposed to a high-contrast and no-contrast VVM. Despite being more robust in the high-contrast conditions, reductions were largely comparable and recovered with a similar time course. An analysis that directly compared VOR and OKR responses revealed that, alterations in the VOR were of significantly larger amplitude with significantly slower dynamics of recovery. Our findings are evidence for a frequency-selective influence of visual signals in the tuning of gaze stabilizing reflexes in normal mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't