Inputs from regularly and irregularly discharging vestibular nerve afferents to secondary neurons in squirrel monkey vestibular nuclei. III. Correlation with vestibulospinal and vestibuloocular output pathways
Boyle, R.; Goldberg, J.M.; Highstein, S.M.; Goldberg, J.M.
Journal of Neurophysiology 68(2): 471-484
1. A previous study measured the relative contributions made by regularly and irregularly discharging afferents to the monosynaptic vestibular nerve (Vi) input of individual secondary neurons located in and around the superior vestibular nucleus of barbiturate-anesthetized squirrel monkeys. Here, the analysis is extended to more caudal regions of the vestibular nuclei, which are a major source of both vestibuloocular and vestibulospinal pathways. As in the previous study, antidromic stimulation techniques are used to classify secondary neurons as oculomotor or spinal projecting. In addition, spinal-projecting neurons are distinguished by their descending pathways, their termination levels in the spinal cord, and their collateral projections to the IIIrd nucleus. 2. Monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) were recorded intracellularly from secondary neurons as shocks of increasing strength were applied to Vi. Shocks were normalized in terms of the threshold (T) required to evoke field potentials in the vestibular nuclei. As shown previously, the relative contribution of irregular afferents to the total monosynaptic Vi input of each secondary neuron can be expressed as a %I index, the ratio (x100) of the relative sizes of the EPSPs evoked by shocks of 4 x T and 16 x T. 3. Antidromic stimulation was used to type secondary neurons as 1) medial vestibulospinal tract (MVST) cells projecting to spinal segments C1 or C6; 2) lateral vestibulospinal tract (LVST) cells projecting to C1, C6; or L1; 3) vestibulooculo-collic (VOC) cells projecting both to the IIIrd nucleus and by way of the MVST to C1 or C6; and 4) vestibuloocular (VOR) neurons projecting to the IIIrd nucleus but not to the spinal cord. Most of the neurons were located in the lateral vestibular nucleus (LV), including its dorsal (dLV) and ventral (vLV) divisions, and adjacent parts of the medial (MV) and descending nuclei (DV). Cells receiving quite different proportions of their direct inputs from regular and irregular afferents were intermingled in all regions explored. 4. LVST neurons are restricted to LV and DV and show a somatotopic organization. Those destined for the cervical and thoracic cord come from vLV, from a transition zone between vLV and DV, and to a lesser extent from dLV. Lumbar-projecting neurons are located more dorsally in dLV and more caudally in DV. MVST neurons reside in MV and in the vLV-DV transition zone.