Quantitative study of the static and dynamic response properties of some otolith-sensitive neurons has been difficult in the past partly because their responses to different linear acceleration vectors exhibited no "null" plane and a dependence of phase on stimulus orientation. The theoretical formulation of the response ellipse provides a quantitative way to estimate the spatio-temporal properties of such neurons. Its semi-major axis gives the direction of the polarization vector (i.e., direction of maximal sensitivity) and it estimates the neuronal response for stimulation along that direction. In addition, the semi-minor axis of the ellipse provides an estimate of the neuron's maximal sensitivity in the "null" plane. In this paper, extracellular recordings from otolith-sensitive vestibular nuclei neurons in decerebrate rats were used to demonstrate the practical application of the method. The experimentally observed gain and phase dependence on the orientation angle of the acceleration vector in a head-horizontal plane was described and satisfactorily fit by the response ellipse model. In addition, the model satisfactorily fits neuronal responses in three-dimensions and unequivocally demonstrates that the response ellipse formulation is the general approach to describe quantitatively the spatial properties of vestibular neurons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Computer Science