Impaired vestibular responses in internuclear ophthalmoplegia: Association and dissociation

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine the role of the medial longitudinal fasciculus (MLF) in conveying vestibular signals.

Methods:

In 10 patients with isolated acute unilateral internuclear ophthalmoplegia (INO) due to an acute stroke, we performed comprehensive vestibular evaluation using video-oculography, head impulse tests with a magnetic search coil technique, bithermal caloric tests, tests for the ocular tilt reaction, and measurements of subjective visual vertical and cervical and ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs).

Results:

The head impulse gain of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) was decreased invariably for the contralesional posterior canal (PC) (n = 9; 90%) and usually for the ipsilesional horizontal canal (n = 5; 50%). At least one component of contraversive ocular tilt reaction (n = 9) or contraversive tilt of the subjective visual vertical (n = 7) were common along with ipsitorsional nystagmus (n = 5). Cervical or ocular VEMPs were abnormal in 5 patients.

Conclusions:

The MLF serves as the main passage for the high-acceleration VOR from the contralateral PC. The associations and dissociations of the vestibular dysfunction in our patients indicate variable combinations of damage to the vestibular fibers ascending or descending in the MLF even in strokes causing isolated unilateral INO.

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