2014 Inner Ear Physiology

Overview of organization

Vestibular Pathways Vestibular pathway summary

  • there are 4 vestibular nuclei on each side of the brainstem: superior, medial, lateral and inferior (also called descending)
    • they all receive input from both the semicircular canals and the otolith organs
    • they all project to all pathways
    • some projections/connections from some nuclei are more important (or maybe just better understood) than others

  • there are 4 important vestibular pathways to consider:
  1. the primary sensory pathway from the vestibular nuclei (particularly the superior and lateral) to the VP nucleus of the thalamus and then to cortex
    • there is debate over exactly where the vestibular cortex is: some people put it close to auditory cortex in the superior temporal gyrus, others at the end of somatosensory cortex where it joins with motor cortex

  2. vestibulospinal reflexes

  3. the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR)

  4. vestibulo-cerebellar connections
Vestibular nuclei
Email: Dr. Janet Fitzakerley | ©2014 University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth | Last modified: 15-feb-14 9:04 PM