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Role of muscle pulleys in producing eye position-dependence in the angular vestibuloocular reflex: a model-based studyIt is well established that the head and eye velocity axes do not always align during compensatory vestibular slow phases. It has been shown that the eye velocity axis systematically tilts away from the head velocity axis in a manner that is dependent on eye-in-head position. The mechanisms responsible for producing these axis tilts are unclear. In this model-based study, we aimed to determine whether muscle pulleys could be involved in bringing about these phenomena. The model presented incorporates semicircular canals, central vestibular pathways, and an ocular motor plant with pulleys. The pulleys were modeled so that they brought about a rotation of the torque axes of the extraocular muscles that was a fraction of the angle of eye deviation from primary position. The degree to which the pulleys rotated the torque axes was altered by means of a pulley coefficient. Model input was head velocity and initial eye position data from passive and active yaw head impulses with fixation at 0 degrees, 20 degrees up and 20 degrees down, obtained from a previous experiment. The optimal pulley coefficient required to fit the data was determined by calculating the mean square error between data and model predictions of torsional eye velocity. For active head impulses, the optimal pulley coefficient varied considerably between subjects. The median optimal pulley coefficient was found to be 0.5, the pulley coefficient required for producing saccades that perfectly obey Listing's law when using a two-dimensional saccadic pulse signal. The model predicted the direction of the axis tilts observed in response to passive head impulses from 50 ms after onset. During passive head impulses, the median optimal pulley coefficient was found to be 0.21, when roll gain was fixed at 0.7. The model did not accurately predict the alignment of the eye and head velocity axes that was observed early in the response to passive head impulses. We found that this alignment could be well predicted if the roll gain of the angular vestibuloocular reflex was modified during the initial period of the response, while pulley coefficient was maintained at 0.5. Hence a roll gain modification allows stabilization of the retinal image without requiring a change in the pulley effect. Our results therefore indicate that the eye position-dependent velocity axis tilts could arise due to the effects of the pulleys and that a roll gain modification in the central vestibular structures may be responsible for countering the pulley effect.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Thurtell, M. J. (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Camperdown, NSW 2050, Sydney, Australia)
Kunin, M.
Raphan, T.
Wall, C. C.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of neurophysiology
Volume: 84
Issue: 2
ISSN: 0022-3077
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Neuroscience
Non-NASA Center