PubMed 11701595

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Cav2.1 , Slo1

Title: Otolith function in cerebellar ataxia due to mutations in the calcium channel gene CACNA1A.

Authors: G Wiest, J R Tian, R W Baloh, B T Crane, J L Demer

Journal, date & volume: Brain, 2001 Dec , 124, 2407-16

PubMed link:

The vestibulo-ocular reflexes stabilize retinal images during head movements. While there is a wealth of information about the interaction between the cerebellum and vestibulo-ocular reflexes mediated by the semicircular canals, little is known about the role of the cerebellum in the generation of the otolith-mediated linear vestibulo-ocular reflex (LVOR). By means of transient linear acceleration of the whole body along the interaural axis, we examined the LVOR in six patients with hereditary cerebellar ataxia due to mutations of the calcium channel gene CACNA1A, five with spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6) and one with episodic ataxia type 2 (EA-2). Six age-matched normal subjects served as controls. Using a peak acceleration of 0.5 g in combination with recording by the binocular scleral magnetic search coil method, it was possible to study the latency and sensitivity of the LVOR in the first 150 ms after motion onset. The normal LVOR showed a significant dependence on viewing distance and covaried with vergence angle, and could be enhanced by the presence of a visible target. In contrast, the LVOR of ataxic patients had normal latency but significantly decreased sensitivity that was not enhanced with visible or nearer targets despite normal vergence. Substituting for the normal smooth LVOR slow phase, ataxic patients employed catch-up saccades 150-250 ms after motion onset. These findings suggest a critical role of the cerebellum in the modulation of otolith-ocular signals that is independent of motor vergence.