1. The vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) was investigated in rhesus monkeys before and after surgical ablation of the cerebellar nodulus and ventral uvula. The lesion resulted in an alteration of the torsional VOR: compensatory eye movements were poor in the low frequency range and the time constant was reduced to values comparable to those of primary semicircular canal afferents. In addition, animals permanently lost their ability to generate torsional optokinetic nystagmus (OKN). 2. The effects of the lesion on the torsional VOR differed from those observed in the horizontal and vertical vestibulo-ocular systems. While the vertical VOR and OKN were unaltered, the horizontal VOR and OKN were characterized by increased time constants and smaller phase leads during low frequency head oscillations. 3. These results suggest that the cerebellar nodulus and/or ventral uvula exert a distinct and specific dynamic control on the torsional vestibulo-ocular and optokinetic reflexes. Such specific effects on the torsional system could reflect a functional segregation of the vestibulo-cerebellum in terms of the control of torsional versus horizontal and vertical slow phase eye movements.
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