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The Differential Effects of Acute Right- vs. Left-Sided Vestibular Deafferentation on Spatial Cognition in Unilateral Labyrinthectomized Mice.

Front Neurol. 2021 Dec 8;12:789487. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.789487. PMID: 34956067; PMCID: PMC8692718.

Authors/Editors: Nguyen TT, Nam GS, Kang JJ, Han GC, Kim JS, Dieterich M, Oh SY.
Publication Date: 2021


This study aimed to investigate the disparity in locomotor and spatial memory deficits caused by left- or right-sided unilateral vestibular deafferentation (UVD) using a mouse model of unilateral labyrinthectomy (UL) and to examine the effects of galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) on the deficits over 14 days. Five experimental groups were established: the left-sided and right-sided UL (Lt.-UL and Rt.-UL) groups, left-sided and right-sided UL with bipolar GVS with the cathode on the lesion side (Lt.-GVS and Rt.-GVS) groups, and a control group with sham surgery. We assessed the locomotor and cognitive-behavioral functions using the open field (OF), Y maze, and Morris water maze (MWM) tests before (baseline) and 3, 7, and 14 days after surgical UL in each group. On postoperative day (POD) 3, locomotion and spatial working memory were more impaired in the Lt.-UL group compared with the Rt.-UL group (p < 0.01, Tamhane test). On POD 7, there was a substantial difference between the groups; the locomotion and spatial navigation of the Lt.-UL group recovered significantly more slowly compared with those of the Rt.-UL group. Although the differences in the short-term spatial cognition and motor coordination were resolved by POD 14, the long-term spatial navigation deficits assessed by the MWM were significantly worse in the Lt.-UL group compared with the Rt.-UL group. GVS intervention accelerated the vestibular compensation in both the Lt.-GVS and Rt.-GVS groups in terms of improvement of locomotion and spatial cognition. The current data imply that right- and left-sided UVD impair spatial cognition and locomotion differently and result in different compensatory patterns. Sequential bipolar GVS when the cathode (stimulating) was assigned to the lesion side accelerated recovery for UVD-induced spatial cognition, which may have implications for managing the patients with spatial cognitive impairment, especially that induced by unilateral peripheral vestibular damage on the dominant side.

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