Convergence of visual motion and vestibular information is essential for accurate spatial navigation. Such multisensory integration has been shown in cortex, e.g., the dorsal medial superior temporal (MSTd) and ventral intraparietal (VIP) areas, but not in the parieto-insular vestibular cortex (PIVC). Whether similar convergence occurs subcortically remains unknown. Many Purkinje cells in vermal lobules 10 (nodulus) and 9 (uvula) of the macaque cerebellum are tuned to vestibular translation stimuli, yet little is known about their visual motion responsiveness. Here we show the existence of translational optic flow-tuned Purkinje cells, found exclusively in the anterior part of the nodulus and ventral uvula, near the midline. Vestibular responses of Purkinje cells showed a remarkable similarity to those in MSTd (but not PIVC or VIP) neurons, in terms of both response latency and relative contributions of velocity, acceleration, and position components. In contrast, the spatiotemporal properties of optic flow responses differed from those in MSTd, and matched the vestibular properties of these neurons. Compared with MSTd, optic flow responses of Purkinje cells showed smaller velocity contributions and larger visual motion acceleration responses. The remarkable similarity between the nodulus/uvula and MSTd vestibular translation responsiveness suggests a functional coupling between the two areas for vestibular processing of self-motion information.
ASJC Scopus subject areas