The role of the superior vestibular nerve in generating ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials to bone conducted vibration at Fz

S Iwasaki, Y Chihara, Y E Smulders, A M Burgess, G M Halmagyi, I S Curthoys, T Murofushi
Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 2009, 120 (3): 588-93

OBJECTIVE: The n10 component (n10) of the ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potential (oVEMP) to brief bone conducted vibration (BCV) of the forehead at Fz is probably caused by the vibration selectively activating vestibular otolithic receptors. If the n10 is due primarily to utricular activation then diseases which affect only the superior division of the vestibular nerve (SVN) should reduce or eliminate n10.

METHODS: The n10 component of the oVEMP was measured in 13 patients with unilateral SVN but with inferior vestibular nerve function preserved.

RESULTS: We compared the n10 to BCV of these 13 SVN patients to previously published data for healthy subjects and patients after complete unilateral vestibular loss. We found that in 12 out of the 13 patients with SVN, n10 was markedly reduced or absent under the contralesional eye.

CONCLUSION: Since all utricular afferents course in the superior vestibular nerve and in 12/13 of these patients the n10 was reduced we conclude that the n10 component of the oVEMP to BCV is probably mediated by the superior vestibular nerve and probably due to activation of mainly utricular receptors.

SIGNIFICANCE: The n10 appears to be a simple new test of superior vestibular nerve and probably mainly utricular function.

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