Do humans show velocity-storage in the vertical rVOR?

G. Bertolini, C. J. Bockisch, D. Straumann, D. S. Zee, S. Ramat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


To investigate the contribution of the vestibular velocity-storage mechanism (VSM) to the vertical rotational vestibulo-ocular reflex (rVOR) we recorded eye movements evoked by off-vertical axis rotation (OVAR) using whole-body constant-velocity pitch rotations about an earth-horizontal, interaural axis in four healthy human subjects. Subjects were tumbled forward, and backward, at 60 deg/s for over 1 min using a 3D turntable. Slow-phase velocity (SPV) responses were similar to the horizontal responses elicited by OVAR along the body longitudinal axis, ('barbecue' rotation), with exponentially decaying amplitudes and a residual, otolith-driven sinusoidal response with a bias. The time constants of the vertical SPV ranged from 6 to 9 s. These values are closer to those that reflect the dynamic properties of vestibular afferents than the typical 20 s produced by the VSM in the horizontal plane, confirming the relatively smaller contribution of the VSM to these vertical responses. Our preliminary results also agree with the idea that the VSM velocity response aligns with the direction of gravity. The horizontal and torsional eye velocity traces were also sinusoidally modulated by the change in gravity, but showed no exponential decay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUsing Eye Movements as an Experimental Probe of Brain function A Symposium in Honor of Jean Buttner-Ennever
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9780444531636
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123


  • pitch VOR
  • rVOR
  • velocity-storage mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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