Evidence for corrective effects of afferent signals from the extraocular muscles on single units in the pigeon vestibulo-oculomotor system

Exp Brain Res. 1993;95(2):240-50. doi: 10.1007/BF00229782.


The role of extraocular muscle (EOM) afferent feedback signals in the control of eye movement is still controversial. We recorded from 106 single units in the vestibular nuclei, oculomotor nuclei and reticular formation of 80 decerebrate, paralysed pigeons. EOM afferents were stimulated by passive eye movement (PEM) during vestibular stimulation by sinusoidal oscillation in the horizontal plane. We found that EOM afferent signals profoundly modified the vestibular responses of 91 (86%) of the single units recorded. As well as using PEM to simulate eye movements similar to saccades, we moved the eye in a manner which mimicked the slow phase of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (artificial VOR, AVOR). We have found evidence that, as well as providing signals closely related to the parameters of eye movement, PEM alters the vestibular responses of cells during AVOR in a manner which suggests that EOM afferent signals may play a corrective role in the moment-to-moment control of eye movement in the vestibulo-ocular reflex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Stem / cytology
  • Brain Stem / physiology
  • Columbidae / physiology*
  • Decerebrate State / physiopathology
  • Feedback
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Oculomotor Muscles / innervation
  • Oculomotor Muscles / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reticular Formation / physiology
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology*