Dependence of adaptation of the human vertical angular vestibulo-ocular reflex on gravity

Sergei B. Yakushin, Antonella Palla, Thomas Haslwanter, Christopher J. Bockisch, Dominik Straumann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


We determined the spatial dependence of adaptive gain changes of the vertical angular vestibulo-ocular reflex (aVOR) on gravity in five human subjects. The gain was decreased for 1 h by sinusoidal oscillation in pitch about a spatial vertical axis in a subject-stationary surround with the head oriented left-side down. Gains were tested by sinusoidal oscillation about a spatial vertical axis while subjects were tilted in 15° increments from left- to right-side down positions through the upright. Changes in gain of the vertical component of the induced eye movements were expressed as a percentage of the preadapted values for the final analysis. Vertical aVeR gain changes were maximal in the position in which the gain had been adapted and declined progressively as subjects were moved from this position. Gain changes were plotted as a function of head orientation and fit with a sine function. The bias level of the fitted sines, i.e., the gravity-independent gain change, was -29±10% (SD). The gains varied around this bias as a function of head position by ±18±6%, which were the gravity-dependent gain changes. The gravity-dependent gain changes induced by only 1 h of adaptation persisted, gradually declining over several days. We conclude that there is a component of the vertical aVeR gain change in humans that is dependent on the head orientation in which the gain was adapted, and that this dependence can persist for substantial periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003


  • Adaptation
  • Gravity
  • Human
  • Vestibulo-ocular reflex
  • Gravitation
  • Humans
  • Head Movements/physiology
  • Male
  • Posture/physiology
  • Adaptation, Physiological/physiology
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular/physiology
  • Adult
  • Female


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