Vestibular-evoked electromyographic responses in soleus: a comparison between click and galvanic stimulation

Exp Brain Res. 1998 Apr;119(4):504-10. doi: 10.1007/s002210050366.


The aim of this study was to demonstrate, if possible, vestibulospinal reflex responses in soleus using a stimulus known to be capable of exciting vestibular afferents, namely 100-dB (NHL) clicks. We were able to show short-latency electromyographic (EMG) responses after clicks in five of eight normal subjects, and then we compared these responses with those after transmastoid galvanic stimulation (12 normal subjects). Stimulation of the side towards which the head was rotated (i.e. the side facing backwards) with either clicks or the cathode (anode applied to the opposite side) gave an initial excitatory response in soleus, while click or cathodal stimulation of the opposite side (i.e. the side facing forwards) gave an initial inhibitory response. Onset latencies and modulation with changes in postural task were identical for both click- and galvanic-evoked responses. In addition, there was a significant correlation between the amplitudes of the responses in soleus after click and galvanic stimulation (R2=0.72). These similarities suggest that the earliest reflex responses in soleus after clicks and galvanic stimulation may be mediated by a common central pathway. In contrast, there was no correlation between the amplitudes of responses evoked by 100-dB clicks in soleus and those evoked by the same stimulus in the sternocleidomastoid. We conclude that vestibular activation by clicks can evoke reflex responses in lower-limb muscles and these responses have similar characteristics to the earliest responses evoked by galvanic vestibular stimulation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Head Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology*