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Becker-Bense, Sandra; Buchholz, Hans-Georg; Eulenburg, Peter Zu; Best, Christoph; Bartenstein, Peter; Schreckenberger, Matthias; Dieterich, Marianne: Ventral and dorsal streams processing visual motion perception (FDG-PET study). In: BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:81




Background: Earlier functional imaging studies on visually induced self-motion perception (vection) disclosed a bilateral network of activations within primary and secondary visual cortex areas which was combined with signal decreases, i.e., deactivations, in multisensory vestibular cortex areas. This finding led to the concept of a reciprocal inhibitory interaction between the visual and vestibular systems. In order to define areas involved in special aspects of self-motion perception such as intensity and duration of the perceived circular vection (CV) or the amount of head tilt, correlation analyses of the regional cerebral glucose metabolism, rCGM (measured by fluorodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography, FDG-PET) and these perceptual covariates were performed in 14 healthy volunteers. For analyses of the visual-vestibular interaction, the CV data were compared to a random dot motion stimulation condition (not inducing vection) and a control group at rest (no stimulation at all). Results: Group subtraction analyses showed that the visual-vestibular interaction was modified during CV, i.e., the activations within the cerebellar vermis and parieto-occipital areas were enhanced. The correlation analysis between the rCGM and the intensity of visually induced vection, experienced as body tilt, showed a relationship for areas of the multisensory vestibular cortical network (inferior parietal lobule bilaterally, anterior cingulate gyrus), the medial parieto-occipital cortex, the frontal eye fields and the cerebellar vermis. The "earlier" multisensory vestibular areas like the parieto-insular vestibular cortex and the superior temporal gyrus did not appear in the latter analysis. The duration of perceived vection after stimulus stop was positively correlated with rCGM in medial temporal lobe areas bilaterally, which included the (para-) hippocampus, known to be involved in various aspects of memory processing. The amount of head tilt was found to be positively correlated with the rCGM of bilateral basal ganglia regions responsible for the control of motor function of the head. Conclusions: Our data gave further insights into subfunctions within the complex cortical network involved in the processing of visual-vestibular interaction during CV. Specific areas of this cortical network could be attributed to the ventral stream ("what" pathway) responsible for the duration after stimulus stop and to the dorsal stream ("where/how" pathway) responsible for intensity aspects.