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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Properties of sympathetic reflexes elicited by natural vestibular stimulation: implications for cardiovascular control.

1. To study the properties of vestibulosympathetic reflexes we recorded outflow from the splanchnic nerve during natural vestibular stimulation in multiple vertical planes in decerebrate cats. Most of the animals were cerebellectomized, although some responses were recorded in cerebellum-intact preparations. Vestibular stimulation was produced by rotating the head in animals whose upper cervical dorsal roots were transected to remove inputs from neck receptors; a baroreceptor denervation and vagotomy were also performed to remove visceral inputs. 2. The plane of head rotation that produced maximal modulation of splanchnic nerve activity (response vector orientation) was measured at 0.2-0.5 Hz. The dynamics of the response were then studied with sinusoidal (0.05- to 1-Hz) stimuli aligned with this orientation. 3. Typically, maximal modulation of splanchnic nerve outflow was elicited by head rotations in a plane near pitch; nose-up rotations produced increased outflow and nose-down rotations reduced nerve discharges. The gains of the responses remained relatively constant across stimulus frequencies and the phases were consistently near stimulus position, like regularly firing otolith afferents. Similar response dynamics were recorded in cerebellectomized and cerebellum-intact animals. 4. The splanchnic nerve responses to head rotation could be abolished by microinjections of the excitotoxin kainic acid into the medial and inferior vestibular nuclei, which is concordant with the responses resulting from activation of vestibular receptors. 5. The properties fo vestibulosympathetic reflexes recorded from the splanchnic nerve support the hypothesis that the vestibular system participates in compensating for posturally related changes in blood pressure.[1]


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