Vestibular Interactions in the Thalamus

  • Wijesinghe R
  • Protti D
  • Camp A
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© 2015 Wijesinghe, Protti and Camp. It has long been known that the vast majority of all information en route to the cerebral cortex must first pass through the thalamus. The long held view that the thalamus serves as a simple hi fidelity relay station for sensory information to the cortex, however, has over recent years been dispelled. Indeed, multiple projections from the vestibular nuclei to thalamic nuclei (including the ventrobasal nuclei, and the geniculate bodies)-regions typically associated with other modalities- have been described. Further, some thalamic neurons have been shown to respond to stimuli presented from across sensory modalities. For example, neurons in the rat anterodorsal and laterodorsal nuclei of the thalamus respond to visual, vestibular, proprioceptive and somatosensory stimuli and integrate this information to compute heading within the environment. Together, these findings imply that the thalamus serves crucial integrative functions, at least in regard to vestibular processing, beyond that imparted by a “simple” relay. In this mini review we outline the vestibular inputs to the thalamus and provide some clinical context for vestibular interactions in the thalamus. We then focus on how vestibular inputs interact with other sensory systems and discuss the multisensory integration properties of the thalamus.




Wijesinghe, R., Protti, D. A., & Camp, A. J. (2015). Vestibular Interactions in the Thalamus. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 9.

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