Nucleus ventroposterior inferior (VPI) as the vestibular thalamic relay in the rhesus monkey I. Field potential investigation


In order to investigate the thalamic relay of the vestibulo-cortical pathway, field potentials were recorded in the rhesus thalamus under pentobarbital anesthesia. Short latency responses (2.5 msec on the average) upon stimulation in isolation of the vestibular nerve were recorded in the inferior ventroposterior nucleus (VPI). These potentials were abolished after transection of the vestibular nerve but were not affected by total cerebellectomy. Projection of VPI neurons to the primary vestibular cortex was demonstrated by antidromic stimulation. Field potentials with latencies of those observed in the vestibular cortex (about 5 msec) in response to vestibular nerve stimulation were recorded in other areas of the thalamus (ventrobasal, ventrolateral, posterior group, including magnocellular medial geniculate nuclei). Thus, the VPI rather than the other nuclei with long latency responses is likely to be the thalamic relay in the vestibulo-cortical path. The close topographical relationship between vestibular and somatic areas in the cortex is parallelled in the thalamus, the VPI being closely related to VPL and VPM nuclei.


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