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Straka, Hans ORCID: 0000-0003-2874-0441; Dieringer, Norbert (2000): Convergence pattern of uncrossed excitatory and inhibitory semicircular canal-specific inputs onto second-order vestibular neurons of frogs - Organization of vestibular side loops. In: Experimental Brain Research, Vol. 135, No. 4: pp. 462-473
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Abstract

Second-order vestibular neurons of frogs receive converging monosynaptic excitatory and disynaptic excitatory and inhibitory inputs following electrical pulse stimulation of an individual semicircular canal nerve on the ipsilateral side. Here we revealed, in the in vitro frog brain, disynaptic inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) by bath application of antagonists specific for glycine or gamma -aminobutyric acid-A (GABA(A)) receptors. Differences in the response parameters between disynaptic IPSPs and excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) suggested that disynaptic IPSPs originated from a more homogeneous subpopulation of thicker vestibular nerve efferent fibers than mono- or disynaptic EPSPs. To investigate a possible size-related organization of these canal-specific, parallel pathways, we combined longlasting anodal currents of variable intensities with strong cathodal test pulses, to block pulse-evoked responses reversibly in a graded manner according to the size-related sensitivity of vestibular nerve afferent fibers. The anodal current intensity required to block a particular response component was about 15 times lower than the strength of the cathodal test pulse that activated this response component. These large threshold differences were exploited for a selective anodal suppression of the responses front thick vestibular nerve afferent fibers. Tn fact, response components known to originate exclusively from thick-caliber afferent fibers such as the electrically transmitted monosynaptic EPSP component exhibited the lowest thresholds for cathodal test pulses and were the first to disappear in the presence of small anodal polarization steps. Thresholds for the activation/inactivation of responses and current intensities required for response saturation/blockade were used to assess the fiber spectrum that evoked the different response components. Mono- and disynaptic EPSPs appeared to originate from a broad spectrum of thick and thin vestibular nerve afferent fibers. The spectrum of afferent fibers that activated disynaptic IPSPs on the other hand was more homogeneous and consisted of thick and intermediate fibers. Such a canal-specific and fiber type-related organization of converging inputs of second-order vestibular neurons via feedforward projections was shown for the first time by this study in frogs, but might also prevail in mammals. Similar differences in these feedforward pathways have been proposed earlier in a vestibular side-loop model. Our results are consistent with the basic assumptions of this model and relate to the processing and tuning of dynamic vestibular signals.