1. The dynamic contribution of otolith signals to three dimensional angular vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) was studied during off-vertical axis rotations in rhesus monkeys. In an attempt to separate response components to head velocity from those to head position relative to gravity during low- frequency sinusoidal oscillations, large oscillation amplitudes were chosen such that peak-to-peak head displacements exceeded 360°. Because the waveforms of head position and velocity differed in shape and frequency content, the particular head position and angular velocity sensitivity of otolith-ocular responses could be independently assessed. 2. During both constant velocity rotation and low-frequency sinusoidal oscillations, the otolith system generated two different types of oculomotor responses: 1) modulation of three-dimensional eye position and/or eye velocity as a function of head position relative to gravity, as presented in the preceding paper, and 2) slow-phase eye velocity as a function of head angular velocity. These two types of otolith-ocular responses have been analyzed separately. In this paper we focus on the angular velocity responses of the otolith system. 3. During constant velocity off-vertical axis rotations, a steady-state nystagmus was elicited that was maintained throughout rotation. During low- frequency sinusoidal off-vertical axis oscillations, dynamic otolith stimulation resulted primarily in a reduction of phase leads that characterize low-frequency VOR during earth-vertical axis rotations. Both of these effects are the result of an internally generated head angular velocity signal of otolithic origin that is coupled through a low-pass filter to the VOR. No change in either VOR gain or phase was observed at stimulus frequencies larger than 0.1 Hz. 4. The dynamic otolith contribution to low- frequency angular VOR exhibited three-dimensional response characteristics with some quantitative differences in the different response components. For horizontal VOR, the amplitude of the steady-state slow-phase velocity during constant velocity rotation and the reduction of phase leads during sinusoidal oscillation were relatively independent of tilt angle (for angles larger than ~10°). For vertical and torsional VOR, the amplitude of steady-state slow- phase eye velocity during constant velocity rotation increased, and the phase leads during sinusoidal oscillation decreased with increasing tilt angle. The largest steady-state response amplitudes and smallest phase leads were observed during vertical/torsional VOR about an earth-horizontal axis. 5. The dynamic range of otolith-borne head angular velocity information in the VOR was limited to velocities up to ~110°/s. Higher head velocities resulted in saturation and a decrease in the amplitude of the steady-state response components during constant velocity rotation and in increased phase leads during sinusoidal oscillations. 6. The response characteristics of otolith- borne angular VORs were also studied in animals after selective semicircular canal inactivation. Otolith angular VORs exhibited clear low-pass filtered properties with a corner frequency of ~0.05-0.1 Hz. Vectorial summation of canal VOR alone (elicited during earth-vertical axis rotations) and otolith VOR alone (elicited during off-vertical axis oscillations after semicircular canal inactivation) could not predict VOR gain and phase during off-vertical axis rotations in intact animals. This suggests a more complex interaction of semicircular canal and otolith signals. 7. The results of this study show that the primate low-frequency enhancement of VOR dynamics during off- vertical axis rotation is independent of a simultaneous activation of the vertical and torsional 'tilt' otolith-ocular reflexes that have been characterized in the preceding paper. The observed low-frequency enhancement of VOR dynamics is rather linked to the generation of a steady-state compensatory nystagmus during constant velocity off-vertical axis rotations. We propose that such 'static' (i.e., steady-state) and low-frequency enhancement of VOR dynamics results from an inertial vestibular mechanism that utilizes both otolith and semicircular canal afferent information to detect head motion in space.
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