JOURNAL ARTICLE

Ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (oVEMPs) require extraocular muscles but not facial or cochlear nerve activity

Yasuhiro Chihara, Shinichi Iwasaki, Munetaka Ushio, Chisato Fujimoto, Akinori Kashio, Kenji Kondo, Ken Ito, Takahiro Asakage, Tatsuya Yamasoba, Kimitaka Kaga, Toshihisa Murofushi
Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 2009, 120 (3): 581-7
19211302

OBJECTIVES: Cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (cVEMPs) have been found to be useful for clinical testing of vestibular function. Recently, investigators showed that short-latency, initially negative surface EMG potentials can be recorded around the extraocular muscles (oVEMPs) in response to air-conducted sound (ACS), bone-conducted vibration (BCV), and head taps. Although these evoked potentials, which are located around the eyes, most likely originate primarily from the otolith-ocular pathway, the possibility of contamination by other nerve activities cannot be completely eliminated. The purpose of the present study was to clarify the origin of oVEMPs by examining these possibilities using clinical findings.

METHODS: Twelve healthy subjects and 15 patients were enrolled. Of the 15 patients, 3 patients had undergone exenteration of the unilateral intraorbital contents, one had undergone exenteration of the right eyeball with preservation of extraocular muscles, 5 had facial palsy, and 6 had profound hearing loss. ACS and/or BCV were used in these subjects.

RESULTS: Exenteration of the unilateral intraorbital contents resulted in absence of myogenic potentials on the affected side. On the other hand, exenteration of the eyeball with preservation of extraocular muscles did not have a major impact on the responses. There were no significant differences in the waveforms between healthy subjects and patients with facial palsy or profound hearing loss.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggested that short-latency, initially negative evoked potentials recorded below the eyes are not affected by cochlear or facial nerve activities and are dependent on the presence of extraocular muscles.

SIGNIFICANCE: This study provides the evidence that oVEMPs originate from exraocular muscles activated through the vestibulo-ocular pathway.

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