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The latency of the cat vestibulo-ocular reflex before and after short- and long-term adaptation

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Latencies of normal and adapted feline vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) were studied in five cats by applying ± 20°/s horizontal head velocity steps (4000°/s2 acceleration) and measuring the elicited horizontal or vertical reflex eye responses. Normal VOR latency was 13.0 ms ± 1.9 SD. Short-term adaptation was then accomplished by using 2 h of paired horizontal sinusoidal vestibular stimulation and phase-synchronized vertical optokinetic stimulation (cross-axis adaptation). For long-term adaptation, cats wore ×0.25 or ×2.2 magnifying lenses for 4 days. The cats were passively rotated for 2 h/day and allowed to walk freely in the laboratory or their cages for the remainder of the time. The latency of the early (primary) adaptive response was 15.2ms±5.2 SD for crossaxis adaptation and 12.5 ms±3.9 SD for lens adaptation. This short-latency response appeared within 30 min after beginning the adaptation procedure and diminished in magnitude overnight. A late (secondary) adaptive response with latency of 76.8 ms±7.0 SD for cross-axis adaptation and 68.1 ms±8.8 SD for lens adaptation appeared after approximately 2 h of adaptation. It had a more gradual increase in magnitude than the primary response and did not diminish in magnitude overnight. These data suggest that brainstem VOR pathways are a site of learning for adaptive VOR modification, since the primary latency is short and has a similar latency to that of the normal VOR.

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Khater, T.T., Quinn, K.J., Pena, J. et al. The latency of the cat vestibulo-ocular reflex before and after short- and long-term adaptation. Exp Brain Res 94, 16–32 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00230467

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Key words

  • Vestibulo-ocular reflex
  • Cross-axis adaptation
  • Lens adaptation
  • Vestibulo-ocular reflex latency
  • Cat