Neurophysiology of the Translational Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex (VOR)

The VOR stabilizes eye position during head movements in space. This research is focused on the role played by neurons in the brainstem and cerebellum in computing the dependence of otolith evoked VORs on gaze position. Neuronal data suggest that so-called vestibular "eye head velocity" neurons and cerebellar "gaze-velocity" neurons encode signals related to eye position and velocity and to head translation in space. The latter signals are modulated by gaze, suggesting a role for these cells in adjusting the amplitude of the translational VOR in relation to gaze position.

The vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) generates compensatory eye movements that help to stabilize eye position during head movements. Upper panel: The angular VOR stabilizes eye position during head rotations; Lower panel: the translational VOR stabilizes eye position during translational (linear) movements of the head (e.g., side to side).