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      Dominant parameter of galvanic vestibular stimulation for the non-associative learning processes

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          Most cited references 31

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          Probing the human vestibular system with galvanic stimulation.

          Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) is a simple, safe, and specific way to elicit vestibular reflexes. Yet, despite a long history, it has only recently found popularity as a research tool and is rarely used clinically. The obstacle to advancing and exploiting GVS is that we cannot interpret the evoked responses with certainty because we do not understand how the stimulus acts as an input to the system. This paper examines the electrophysiology and anatomy of the vestibular organs and the effects of GVS on human balance control and develops a model that explains the observed balance responses. These responses are large and highly organized over all body segments and adapt to postural and balance requirements. To achieve this, neurons in the vestibular nuclei receive convergent signals from all vestibular receptors and somatosensory and cortical inputs. GVS sway responses are affected by other sources of information about balance but can appear as the sum of otolithic and semicircular canal responses. Electrophysiological studies showing similar activation of primary afferents from the otolith organs and canals and their convergence in the vestibular nuclei support this. On the basis of the morphology of the cristae and the alignment of the semicircular canals in the skull, rotational vectors calculated for every mode of GVS agree with the observed sway. However, vector summation of signals from all utricular afferents does not explain the observed sway. Thus we propose the hypothesis that the otolithic component of the balance response originates from only the pars medialis of the utricular macula.
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            Relation between discharge regularity and responses to externally applied galvanic currents in vestibular nerve afferents of the squirrel monkey.

            Most vestibular nerve afferents can be classified as regularly or irregularly discharging. Two factors are theoretically identified as being potentially responsible for differences in discharge regularity. The first, ascribable to synaptic noise, is the variance (sigma v2) characterizing the transmembrane voltage fluctuations of the axon's spike trigger site, i.e., the place where impulses normally arise. The second factor is the slope (dmuv/dt) of the trigger site's postspike recovery function. Were (dmuv/dt) a major determinant of discharge regularity, the theory predicts that the more irregular the discharge of a unit, the greater should be its sensitivity to externally applied galvanic currents and the faster should be the postspike recovery of its electrical excitability. The predictions would not hold if differences in the discharge regularity between units largely reflected variations in sigma v. To test these predictions, the responses of vestibular nerve afferents to externally applied galvanic currents were studied in the barbiturate-anesthetized squirrel monkey. Current steps of 5-s duration and short (50 microsecond) shocks were delivered by way of the perilymphatic space of the vestibule. Results were similar regardless of which end organ an afferent innervated. The regularity of discharge of each unit was expressed by a normalized coefficient of variation (CV*). The galvanic sensitivity (beta p) of a unit, measured from its response to current steps, was linearly related to discharge regularity (CV*), there being approximately 20-fold variations in both variables across the afferent population. Various geometric factors--including fiber diameter, position of individual axons within the various nerve branches, and the configuration of unmyelinated processes within the sensory epithelium--are unlikely to have made a major contribution to the positive relation between beta P and CV*. The postspike recovery of electrical excitability was measured as response thresholds to shocks, synchronized to follow naturally occurring impulses at several different delays. Recovery in irregular units was more rapid than in regular units. Evidence is presented that externally applied currents acted at the spike trigger site rather than elsewhere in the sensory transduction process. We argue that the irregular discharge of some vestibular afferents offers no functional advantage in the encoding and transmission of sensory information. Rather, the irregularity of discharge is better viewed as a consequence of the enhanced sensitivity of these units to depolarizing influences, including afferent and efferent synaptic inputs.
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              Afferent diversity and the organization of central vestibular pathways.

               Ira Goldberg (2000)
              This review considers whether the vestibular system includes separate populations of sensory axons innervating individual organs and giving rise to distinct central pathways. There is a variability in the discharge properties of afferents supplying each organ. Discharge regularity provides a marker for this diversity since fibers which differ in this way also differ in many other properties. Postspike recovery of excitability determines the discharge regularity of an afferent and its sensitivity to depolarizing inputs. Sensitivity is small in regularly discharging afferents and large in irregularly discharging afferents. The enhanced sensitivity of irregular fibers explains their larger responses to sensory inputs, to efferent activation, and to externally applied galvanic currents, but not their distinctive response dynamics. Morphophysiological studies show that regular and irregular afferents innervate overlapping regions of the vestibular nuclei. Intracellular recordings of EPSPs reveal that some secondary vestibular neurons receive a restricted input from regular or irregular afferents, but that most such neurons receive a mixed input from both kinds of afferents. Anodal currents delivered to the labyrinth can result in a selective and reversible silencing of irregular afferents. Such a functional ablation can provide estimates of the relative contributions of regular and irregular inputs to a central neuron's discharge. From such estimates it is concluded that secondary neurons need not resemble their afferent inputs in discharge regularity or response dynamics. Several suggestions are made as to the potentially distinctive contributions made by regular and irregular afferents: (1) Reflecting their response dynamics, regular and irregular afferents could compensate for differences in the dynamic loads of various reflexes or of individual reflexes in different parts of their frequency range; (2) The gating of irregular inputs to secondary VOR neurons could modify the operation of reflexes under varying behavioral circumstances; (3) Two-dimensional sensitivity can arise from the convergence onto secondary neurons of otolith inputs differing in their directional properties and response dynamics; (4) Calyx afferents have relatively low gains when compared with irregular dimorphic afferents. This could serve to expand the stimulus range over which the response of calyx afferents remains linear, while at the same time preserving the other features peculiar to irregular afferents. Among those features are phasic response dynamics and large responses to efferent activation; (5) Because of the convergence of several afferents onto each secondary neuron, information transmission to the latter depends on the gain of individual afferents, but not on their discharge regularity.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing
                Med Biol Eng Comput
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0140-0118
                1741-0444
                April 2020
                January 17 2020
                April 2020
                : 58
                : 4
                : 701-708
                Article
                10.1007/s11517-019-02117-4
                © 2020

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