Contribution of vestibular efferent system alpha-9 nicotinic receptors to vestibulo-oculomotor interaction and short-term vestibular compensation after unilateral labyrinthectomy in mice

Julia N. Eron, Natan Davidovics, Charles C.Della Santina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sudden unilateral loss of vestibular afferent input causes nystagmus, ocular misalignment, postural instability and vertigo, all of which improve significantly over the first few days after injury through a process called vestibular compensation (VC). Efferent neuronal signals to the labyrinth are thought to be required for VC. To better understand efferent contributions to VC, we compared the time course of VC in wild-type (WT) mice and α9 knockout (α9-/-) mice, the latter lacking the α9 subunit of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), which is thought to represent one signaling arm activated by the efferent vestibular system (EVS). Specifically, we investigated the time course of changes in the fast/direct and slow/indirect components of the angular vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) before and after unilateral labyrinthectomy (UL). Eye movements were recorded using infrared video oculography in darkness with the animal stationary and during sinusoidal (50 and 100°/s, 0.5-5Hz) and velocity step (150°/s for 7-10s, peak acceleration 3000°/s2) passive whole-body rotations about an Earth-vertical axis. Eye movements were measured before and 0.5, 2, 4, 6 and 9 days after UL. Before UL, we found frequency- and velocity-dependent differences between WT and α9-/- mice in generation of VOR quick phases. The VOR slow phase time constant (TC) during velocity steps, which quantifies contributions of the indirect component of the VOR, was longer in α9-/- mutants relative to WT mice. After UL, spontaneous nystagmus (SN) was suppressed significantly earlier in WT mice than in α9-/- mice, but mutants achieved greater recovery of TC symmetry and VOR quick phases. These data suggest (1) there are significant differences in vestibular and oculomotor functions between these two types of mice, and (2) efferent signals mediated by α9 nicotinic AChRs play a role during VC after UL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-161
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume602
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 18 2015

Keywords

  • VOR
  • Vestibular compensation
  • Vestibular efferent system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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