Responses of ventral posterior thalamus neurons to three-dimensional vestibular and optic flow stimulation

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Multisensory neurons tuned to both vestibular and visual motion (optic flow) signals are found in several cortical areas in the dorsal visual stream. Here we examine whether such convergence occurs subcortically in the macaque thalamus. We searched the ventral posterior nuclei, including the anterior pulvinar, as well as the ventro-lateral and ventral posterior lateral nuclei, areas that receive vestibular signals from brain stem and deep cerebellar nuclei. Approximately a quarter of cells responded to three-dimensional (3D) translational and/or rotational motion. More than half of the responsive cells were convergent, thus responded during both rotation and translation. The preferred axes of translation/rotation were distributed throughout 3D space. The majority of the neurons were excited, but some were inhibited, during rotation/translation in darkness. Only a couple of neurons were multisensory being tuned to both vestibular and optic flow stimuli. We conclude that multisensory vestibular/optic flow neurons, which are commonly found in cortical visual and visuomotor areas, are rare in the ventral posterior thalamus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-826
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology

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