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It has become well established that vestibular information is important for hippocampal function and spatial memory. However, as yet, relatively little is known about how different kinds of vestibular information are 'represented' in different parts of the hippocampus. This study used selective electrical stimulation of each of the 5 vestibular sensors (the horizontal (HC), anterior (AC) and posterior (PC) semi-circular canals, and the utricle and saccule) in the rat and recorded local field potentials (LFPs) across the hippocampus, using a 16 electrode microarray. We found that stimulation of any vestibular sensor in the left labyrinth evoked triphasic LFPs in both hippocampi, although it was clear that, in general, the amplitudes were greater for the right, contralateral side. This was particularly true for Phase 1 for the HC, AC, utricle and saccule, Phase 2 for the HC, PC, utricle and saccule, and Phase 3 for the AC, PC and saccule. Overall, our results suggest that vestibular input to the hippocampus is bilateral, preferentially contralateral, but highly stratified in that stimulation of the same vestibular sensor results in activation of different specific areas of the hippocampus, with different LFP amplitudes and latencies. This suggests the possibility that different regions of the hippocampus use different kinds of vestibular information for different purposes and that there may be a high degree of redundancy in the representation of vestibular input, perhaps ensuring that the hippocampus is more robust to the partial loss of vestibular information.

Original publication




Journal article


Hear Res

Publication Date





Eye movements, Rat, Selective vestibular stimulation, Vestibular system, Vestibulo-ocular reflexes