Evidence a shared mechanism mediates ipsi- And contralesional compensatory saccades and gait after unilateral vestibular deafferentation

Andrew R. Wagner, Michael C. Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The study objective was to understand how the contralesional labyrinth contributes to gaze and gait stability after unilateral vestibular deafferentation (UVD). Head impulse testing (vHIT) was completed in 37 individuals [22 women (59%); age 52.13 ± 11.59 yr, mean ± SD] with UVD from vestibular schwannoma resection. Compensatory saccades (CS) and vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) gain were analyzed for both ipsilesional and contralesional impulses. Gait speed (10-m walk test) and endurance (2-min walk test) were collected for 35 individuals. CS were recruited during contralesional head rotation regardless of VOR gain on either the ipsilesional [ρ = 0.21 (-0.14, 0.57); Spearman rank (95% confidence interval)] or contralesional side [ρ = -0.04 (-0.42, 0.35)]. Additionally, the latency of these CS (151.19 ± 52.41 ms) was similar to that of CS generated during ipsilesional rotation (165.65 ± 21.62 ms; P = 0.159). CS recruited during ipsilesional vHIT were of a higher velocity (P < 0.001) and greater frequency (P < 0.001) compared with contralesional CS. VOR gain asymmetry was significantly correlated with gait speed [ρ = -0.37 (-0.73, -0.01)], yet individual VOR gain was not correlated [ipsilesional: ρ = 0.17 (-0.20, 0.55); contralesional: ρ = -0.18 (-0.52, 0.15)]. Our data reveal CS are recruited at similar latencies without correlation to VOR gain or direction of head rotation, and that the central integration of ipsilesional and contralesional vestibular afference correlates with gait. Together, our data suggest the brain considers vestibular afference from both sides when generating related behavioral output after UVD. NEW & NOTEWORTHY After unilateral vestibular deafferentation, compensatory saccades (CS) have similar latencies regardless of the direction of head rotation, and those CS generated during contralesional head rotation are unrelated to extent of vestibular loss. Additionally, the extent of asymmetry in residual vestibular function, not the extent of vestibular loss, correlates with gait speed. Our data suggest a common mechanism is responsible for the generation of CS and restoration of gait speed in vestibular compensation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1486-1495
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Compensatory saccade
  • Schwannoma
  • Vestibular
  • Vestibuloocular reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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