Paper in Experimental Brain Research
  • Curthoys, I.S. and Vulovic, V. (2011). Vestibular primary afferent responses to sound and vibration in the guinea pig. Experimental Brain Research, 210, 347–352.

    This study tested whether air-conducted sound and bone-conducted vibration activated primary vestibular afferent neurons and whether, at low levels, such stimuli are specific to particular vestibular sense organs. In response to 500 Hz bone-conducted vibration or 500 Hz air-conducted sound, primary vestibular afferent neurons in the guinea pig fall into one of two categories––some neurons show no measurable change in Wring up to 2 g peak-to-peak or 140 dB SPL. These are semicircular canal neurons (regular or irregular) and regular otolith neurons. In sharp contrast, otolith irregular neurons show high sensitivity: a steep increase in Wring as stimulus intensity is increased. These sensitive neurons typically, but not invariably, were activated by both bone-conducted vibration and air-conducted sound, they originate from both the utricular and saccular maculae, and their sensitivity underpins new clinical tests of otolith function.