Vestibular-related eye movements in the rat following selective electrical stimulation of the vestibular sensors.
Hitier M., Sato G., Zhang Y-F., Zheng Y., Besnard S., Smith PF.
Rats are the most commonly used species in the neurosciences; however, little is known about the effects of selective electrical stimulation of individual vestibular sensors, on their eye movements. This limits their use to study the effects of vestibular stimulation on the brain, and their use in further exploring novel technologies such as artificial vestibular implants. We describe the effects of electrical stimulation of each vestibular sensor on vestibular-related eye movement in rats and compared the results to other species. We demonstrated that each sensor is responsible for specific bilateral eye movements. We found that the eye movements in rats differed from other species. Although the results were similar when stimulating the horizontal canal ampulla, differences appeared when stimulating the vertical canal sensors. During utricular stimulation, the ipsilateral eye moved dorsally in most cases, while the contralateral eye usually moved either caudally, or in extorsion. Saccular stimulation usually moved the ipsilateral eye dorsally or ventrally, while the contralateral eye usually moved ventrally or caudally. This study provides the first data on the application of selective electrical vestibular stimulation in the rat to the study of vestibular-related eye movements.