Afferent signals from the extraocular muscles of the pigeon modify the vestibulo-ocular reflex

Proc Biol Sci. 1993 Jul 22;253(1336):77-82. doi: 10.1098/rspb.1993.0084.


Although the extraocular muscles (EOM) contain stretch receptors it is generally thought that the afferent signals which they provide play no role in the control of eye movement. We have previously shown that these afferent signals do modify both the vestibular responses of single units in the oculomotor control system and the electromyographic responses of the EOM during the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR). We have now investigated the effect of EOM afferent signals on the VOR itself, by recording the electro-oculogram of one eye while imposing movements on the other eye during the VOR. Moving the eye in a manner which mimics the slow phase of the VOR, we have found that, as the peak velocity of the imposed eye movement increases, the amplitude of eye movement of the other eye decreases. These results confirm that the output of the VOR itself, expressed as movement of the globe, and not merely some of its component parts, is modified by EOM afferent signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Columbidae
  • Decerebrate State
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Oculomotor Muscles / innervation*
  • Oculomotor Muscles / physiology
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology*