Organization of vestibular inputs to nucleus tractus solitarius and adjacent structures in cat brain stem

Am J Physiol. 1994 Oct;267(4 Pt 2):R974-83. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1994.267.4.R974.


The vestibular system is involved in maintaining stable blood pressure and respiration during changes in posture and is essential for eliciting motion sickness-related vomiting. Because the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) participates in the regulation of sympathetic and inspiratory outflow and the triggering of emesis, we tested the hypothesis that this region receives vestibular inputs in cats. In one set of experiments, microinjections of the tracer Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin into the medial and inferior vestibular nuclei labeled projections to the middle and lateral regions of the NTS. In electrophysiological experiments, electrical stimulation of the vestibular nerve modified the firing rates of neurons located in the same regions. Some neurons with vestibular inputs received convergent signals from the abdominal vagus nerve and could potentially mediate motion sickness-related vomiting. Others received convergent baroreceptor inputs and could act as a substrate for some components of vestibulosympathetic reflexes. In contrast, inspiratory neurons in the dorsal respiratory group received little vestibular input, suggesting that vestibulorespiratory reflexes are mediated by cells located elsewhere.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Blood Pressure
  • Brain Stem / anatomy & histology
  • Brain Stem / physiology*
  • Cats
  • Electrophysiology
  • Electroshock
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Heart / physiology
  • Inhalation
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / anatomy & histology
  • Medulla Oblongata / physiology
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Phrenic Nerve / physiology
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Pressoreceptors / physiology
  • Solitary Nucleus / anatomy & histology
  • Solitary Nucleus / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology
  • Vestibular Nerve / physiology*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology*


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants