Logo Logo
Switch Language to German

Dietrich, Haike; Glasauer, Stefan and Straka, Hans ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2874-0441 (2017): Functional Organization of Vestibulo-Ocular Responses in Abducens Motoneurons. In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 37, No. 15: pp. 4032-4045

Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


Vestibulo-ocular reflexes (VORs) are the dominating contributors to gaze stabilization in all vertebrates. During horizontal head movements, abducens motoneurons form the final element of the reflex arc that integrates visuovestibular inputs into temporally precise motor commands for the lateral rectus eye muscle. Here, we studied a possible differentiation of abducens motoneurons into subtypes by evaluating their morphology, discharge properties, and synaptic pharmacology in semi-intact in vitro preparations of larval Xenopus laevis. Extracellular nerve recordings during sinusoidal head motion revealed a continuum of resting rates and activation thresholds during vestibular stimulation. Differences in the sensitivity to changing stimulus frequencies and velocities allowed subdividing abducens motoneurons into two subgroups, one encoding the frequency and velocity of head motion (Group I), and the other precisely encoding angular velocity independent of stimulus frequency (Group II). Computational modeling indicated that Group II motoneurons are the major contributor to actual eye movements over the tested stimulus range. The segregation into two functional subgroups coincides with a differential activation of glutamate receptor subtypes. Vestibular excitatory inputs in Group I motoneurons are mediated predominantly by NMDA receptors and to a lesser extent by AMPA receptors, whereas an AMPA receptor-mediated excitation prevails in Group II motoneurons. Furthermore, glycinergic ipsilateral vestibular inhibitory inputs are activated during the horizontal VOR, whereas the tonic GABAergic inhibition is presumably of extravestibular origin. These findings support the presence of physiologically and pharmacologically distinct functional subgroups of extraocular motoneurons that act in concert to mediate the large dynamic range of extraocular motor commands during gaze stabilization.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item