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Beraneck, Mathieu; Straka, Hans ORCID: 0000-0003-2874-0441 (2011): Vestibular signal processing by separate sets of neuronal filters. In: Journal of Vestibular Research, Vol. 21, No. 1: pp. 5-19
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Second-order vestibular neurons (2 degrees VN) are the central element for the transformation of body motion-related sensory signals into extraocular motor commands for retinal image stabilization during locomotion. The wide range of motion dynamics necessitates sensory signal transformation in parallel, frequency-tuned channels. Accordingly, in various vertebrates, 2 degrees VN have been shown to form differently tuned functional subgroups. In frog, these neurons subdivide into two separate populations with distinctly different intrinsic membrane properties, discharge dynamics and synaptic response characteristics. Frog tonic 2 degrees VN exhibit low-pass filter characteristics and membrane properties that cause amplification of synaptic inputs, whereas phasic 2 degrees VN form band-pass filters that allow frequency-dependent shunting of repetitive inputs. The differential, yet complementary membrane properties render tonic 2 degrees VN particularly suitable for synaptic integration and phasic 2 degrees VN for differentiation and event detection. Differential insertion of the two cell types into local circuits reinforces the functional consequences of the intrinsic membrane properties, respectively. As a consequence, the synergy of cellular and network properties creates sets of neuronal elements with particular filter characteristics that form flexible, frequency-tuned components for optimal transformation of all dynamic aspects of body motion-related multisensory signals.