Vestibulo-ocular reflexes in peripheral labyrinthine lesions: III. Bilateral dysfunction

Am J Otolaryngol. 1985 Sep-Oct;6(5):342-52. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0709(85)80011-9.


Measurements were made of the lesion-induced changes in vestibulo-ocular reflexes (VOR) to rotatory stimuli in a group of patients with bilateral peripheral labyrinthine lesions. All the patients had caloric responses that were below the confidence levels used for normal responses in our laboratory. Responses to rotatory stimuli were greatly decreased or absent at low frequencies of stimulation, but present to a much greater degree at the higher frequencies. Phase measurements showed an increase in relationship to the velocity of the stimulus; there was a corresponding shortening of the time constant as obtained from impulse response measurements. A parametric study indicated that the changes in the responses can be described by a decrease in the sensitivity coefficient and in the basic time constant of a simplified pendulum model equation of vestibular function. A theoretical analysis of the data using a new model for the organization of the vestibular pathways indicated that the preservation of the high-frequency responses was the result of adaptive changes brought about in the central vestibular pathways and/or changes in the receptor-neuron transduction characteristics. Thus, despite the almost complete absence of any caloric response, the vestibular system reflexes remained adequate to maintain gaze during normal head movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aminoglycosides / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Audiometry
  • Caloric Tests
  • Computers
  • Electronystagmography
  • Eye Movements*
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / chemically induced
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Labyrinth Diseases / chemically induced
  • Labyrinth Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Posture
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Rotation
  • Vestibular Function Tests
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / drug effects
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiopathology*


  • Aminoglycosides
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents