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Suppression of the vestibular short-latency evoked potential by electrical stimulation of the central vestibular system.

ABSTRACT

In an attempt to view the effects of the efferent vestibular system (EVS) on peripheral dynamic vestibular function, we have monitored the Vestibular short-latency Evoked Potential (VsEP) evoked by pulses of bone conducted vibration during electrical stimulation of the EVS neurons near the floor of the fourth ventricle in the brainstem of anesthetized guinea pigs. Given the reported effects of EVS on primary afferent activity, we hypothesized that EVS stimulation would cause a slight reduction in the VsEP amplitude. Our results show a substantial (>50%) suppression of the VsEP, occurring immediately after a single EVS current pulse. The effect could not be blocked by cholinergic drugs which have been shown to block efferent-mediated vestibular effects. Shocks produced a short-latency P1-N1 response immediately after the electrical artifact which correlated closely to the VsEP suppression. Ultimately, we have identified that this suppression results from antidromic blockade of the afferent response (the VsEP). It would appear that this effect is unavoidable for EVS stimulation, as we found no other effects.