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Abstract

In 35 monkeys attempts were made to produce localized unilateral lesions in individual vestibular nuclei in order to study vestibular projections to nuclei of the extraocular muscles. Portions of the medial, superior and inferior vestibular nuclei were destroyed selectively; lesions in Deiters' nucleus involved small portions of either the superior or inferior vestibular nuclei. Fiber degeneration was studied by the Nauta-Gygax technic.

Exclusively ascending fibers from the superior vestibular nucleus project to ipsilateral extraocular nuclei. Ascending fibers from the inferior vestibular arise only from rostral portions of the nucleus, are not numerous and pass to all extraocular nuclei. The medial vestibular nucleus projects ascending fibers via the MLF bilaterally, asymmetrically and differentially to all extraocular nuclei. Prominent projections pass to: (a) the contralateral trochlear nucleus, and (b) the contralateral intermediate cell column and the ipsilateral ventral nucleus of the oculomotor complex. Ascending fibers from Deiters' nucleus, arising only from ventral portions of the nucleus, project primarily to: (a) the contralateral abducens and trochlear nuclei, and (b) specific asymmetrical portions of the oculomotor complex.

Ascending vestibular fibers from the medial and lateral vestibular nuclei appear capable of mediating all patterned eye movements resulting from stimulation of ampullary nerves from individual semicircular canals. Vestibular projections to nuclei of the extraocular muscles are most abundant to those nuclei innervating muscles whose primary functions concern horizontal and rotatory eye movements.