Regularly discharging vestibular-nerve afferents innervating the semicircular canals were recorded extracellularly in anesthetized chinchillas undergoing high-frequency, high-velocity sinusoidal rotations. In the range from 2 to 20 Hz, with peak velocities of 151°/s at 6 Hz and 52°/s at 20 Hz, 67/70 (96%) maintained modulated discharge throughout the sinusoidal stimulus cycle without inhibitory cutoff or excitatory saturation. These afferents showed little harmonic distortion, no dependence of sensitivity on peak amplitude of stimulation, and no measurable half-cycle asymmetry. A transfer function fitting the data predicts no change in sensitivity (gain) of regularly discharging afferents over the frequencies tested but shows a phase lead with regard to head velocity increasing from 0°at 2 Hz to 30°at 20 Hz. These results indicate that regularly discharging afferents provide a plausible signal to drive the angular vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) even during high-frequency head motion but are not a likely source for nonlinearities present in the VOR.
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