Decerebrate cats were subjected to sinusoidal linear accelerations along the animal's horizontal and vertical axes, while recording the EMG activity of both triceps brachii muscles. This activity was found to be sinusoidally modulated in response to the accelerations and thus phase and gain relations between motor output and input acceleration could be obtained. They were found to be the same for accelerations along each of the three axes. In particular the gain dropped by 14-20 dB over a frequency range from 0.2 to 1.0 Hz and the phase of the motor output showed a lag of 40-60° at 1.0 Hz. Thus, it was concluded that (1) the dynamic behavior of utricular and saccular receptors is the same, (2) the changes in motor activity observed during accelerations along the vertical axis are mostly due to the activation of saccular afferents, and (3) the motor output cannot simply result from vestibular afferent activities being relayed directly to the spinal motoneurons via the vestibulo-spinal tracts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work is part of a research program supported by PHS Grant NSO2567. Computer facilities were made available by Grant AFOSR 71-1969 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Dr. John H. Anderson was supported by NIH Training Grant NSO5494 and Dr. John F. Soechting was the recipient of a Special Postdoctoral Fellowship, No. 1 F10 NS 2739-01 NSRA from NIH.