Mouse magnetic-field nystagmus in strong static magnetic fields is dependent on the presence of Nox3

Bryan K. Ward, Yoon H. Lee, Dale C. Roberts, Ethan Naylor, Americo A. Migliaccio, Charles C. Della Santina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Hypothesis: Magnetic vestibular stimulation (MVS) elicits nystagmus in C57BL/6J mice but not head tilt mice lacking Nox3, which is required for normal otoconial development. Background: Humans have vertigo and nystagmus in strong magnetic fields within magnetic resonance imaging machines. The hypothesized mechanism is a Lorentz force driven by electrical current entering the utricular neuroe-pithelium, acting indirectly on crista hair cells via endolymph movement deflecting cupulae. We tested an alternate hypothesized mechanism: Lorentz action directly on crista hair cell stereocilia, driven by their currents independent of the utricle. Methods: Before MVS, vestibulo-ocular reflex responses of eight C57BL/6J mice and six head tilt mice were measured during whole-body sinusoidal rotations and tilts using video-oculography. Mice were then placed within a 4.7 Tesla magnetic field with the horizontal semicircular canals approximately Earth-horizontal for 1 minute in several head orientations, while eye movements were recorded via infrared video in darkness. Results: Outside the magnet, both C57BL/6J and head tilt mice had intact horizontal vestibulo-ocular reflex, but only C57BL/6J mice exhibited static counter-roll responses to tilt (normal utiruclo-ocular reflex). When placed in the magnet nose-first, C57BL/6J mice had left-beating nystagmus, lasting a median of 32.8 seconds. When tail-first, nystagmus was right-beating and similar duration (median 28.0 s, p > 0.05). In contrast, head tilt mice lacked magnetic field-induced nystagmus (p < 0.001). Conclusions: C57BL/6J mice generate nystagmus in response to MVS, while mice deficient in Nox3 do not. This suggests 1) a normal utricle is necessary, and 2) functioning semicircular canals are insufficient, to generate MVS-induced nystagmus in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1150-e1159
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Labyrinth
  • MRI
  • Magnetic vestibular stimulation
  • Vertigo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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