Irregular primary otolith afferents from the guinea pig utricular and saccular maculae respond to both bone conducted vibration and to air conducted sound

Ian S Curthoys, Vedran Vulovic, Ljiljana Sokolic, Jacob Pogson, Ann M Burgess
Brain Research Bulletin 2012 October 1, 89 (1): 16-21
This study sought to identify in guinea pig the peripheral sense organ of origin of otolith irregular primary vestibular afferent neurons having a very sensitive response to both air-conducted sound (ACS) and bone-conducted vibration (BCV). Neurons responding to both types of stimuli were labelled by juxtacellular labelling by neurobiotin. Whole mounts of the maculae showed that some vestibular afferents activated by both ACS and BCV originate from the utricular macula and some from the saccular macula - there is no "afferent specificity" by one sense organ for ACS and the other for BCV - instead some afferents from both sense organs have sensitive responses to both stimuli. The clinical implication of this result is that differential evaluation of the functional status of the utricular and saccular maculae cannot rely on stimulus type (ACS vs BCV), however the differential motor projections of the utricular and saccular maculae allow for differential evaluation of each sense organ.

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