Spatial coding capacity of central otolith neurons

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Abstract

This review focuses on recent approaches to unravel the capacity of otolith-related brainstem neurons for coding head orientations. In the first section, the spatiotemporal features of central vestibular neurons in response to natural otolithic stimulation are reviewed. Experiments that reveal convergent inputs from bilateral vestibular end organs bear important implications on the processing of spatiotemporal signals and integration of head orientational signals within central otolith neurons. Another section covers the maturation profile of central otolith neurons in the recognition of spatial information. Postnatal changes in the distribution pattern of neuronal subpopulations that subserve the horizontal and vertical otolith systems are highlighted. Lastly, the expression pattern of glutamate receptor subunits and neurotrophin receptors in otolith-related neurons within the vestibular nuclear complex are reviewed in relation to the potential roles of these receptors in the development of vestibular function.

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