Modulation of Locomotor Activity Induced by Natural Stimulation of the Vestibular System

  • V. V. Marlinsky
  • D. A. Vasilenko
  • Th. I. Tsyntsabadze


Vestibular influences upon spontaneous locomotor muscle activity and that evoked by electrical stimulation (5–25 μA) of mesencephalic structures were studied in decerebrated guinea pigs. Natural stimulation of the vestibular system was performed by fixed and cyclic sinusoidal tilts about a longitudinal axis with an amplitude of ± 20° and a frequency range of 0.02–0.4 Hz. Electromyographic (EMG) locomotor discharges in forelimb extensors (m. triceps brachii) corresponding to the stance phase increased and discharges in forelimb flexors (m. biceps brachii) corresponding to the swing phase decreased during ipsilateral tilt, while the reverse changes in EMG activity were observed during contralateral tilt. Changes in EMG activity in hindlimb extensors (m.soleus) demonstrated the same trend as in the forelimbs. Activity in hindlimb flexors (m.tibialis anterior) had two periods of enhancement: one during ipsilateral tilt, coinciding with an increase in the homolateral extensor activity, and a second one during contralateral tilt. Changes in locomotor EMG discharges during sinusoidal tilting led to in phase displacement of the animal (in forelimb extensors 80–60°, in forelimb flexors, 60–40°). It is suggested that the vestibular system may control spinal motor output in parallel with the spinal locomotor generator. The observed changes in locomotor muscle activity are discussed in terms of vestibulospinal and vestibulo-reticulospinal effects.


Locomotor Activity Vestibular System Phase Lead Antagonistic Muscle Flexor Activity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. V. Marlinsky
    • 1
  • D. A. Vasilenko
    • 1
  • Th. I. Tsyntsabadze
    • 1
  1. 1.A.A. Bogomoletz Institute of PhysiologyAcademy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSRKievUSSR

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