Paper in Neuroscience
  • Kim J. (2013). Head movements suggest canal and otolith projections are activated during galvanic vestibular stimulation. Neuroscience, 253pp. 416-425.
    ABSTRACT

    Three-dimensional changes in the angular orientation of the head were monitored during galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) delivered through electrodes implanted bilaterally in the tensor tympani muscle of the guinea-pig middle ear. Bilateral GVS was delivered by passing current between both ears with the anode situated in one ear and the cathode in the other ear. Unilateral GVS was also delivered between one ear and an indifferent electrode on the skull. Constant-current stimulation caused the head to tilt predominantly within the roll and yaw planes toward an ear stimulated with anodal current and away from an ear stimulated with cathodal current. No significant head tilt in the pitch plane was observed with either bilateral or unilateral GVS. Bilateral GVS was found to induce significantly greater roll head tilt (RHT) and yaw head tilt (YHT) than the same intensity of unilateral anodal or cathodal GVS, but not the sum of responses induced by the two polarities of unilateral GVS. Significant asymmetries were observed in the responses of YHT and RHT for unilateral anodal and cathodal GVS; unilateral cathodal stimulation generated greater head deviation compared with the same intensity of unilateral anodal stimulation. These asymmetric responses are consistent with activation of irregularly discharging afferents, which have been shown previously to exhibit asymmetric responses for anodal and cathodal GVS (Kim and Curthoys, 2004). Together with the observations of previous guinea-pig studies, the results suggest that head movements induced by GVS may be mediated by irregularly discharging afferents innervating the otoliths, and possibly the horizontal semicircular canals.