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Abstract #2942

Brain-wide functional organization of the central vestibular pathways: an optogenetic fMRI study

Eddie C. Wong1,2, Teng Ma1,2,3, Xunda Wang1,2, Pek-Lan Khong3, Ed X. Wu1,2, and Alex T.L. Leong1,2
1Laboratory of Biomedical Imaging and Signal Processing, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China, 2Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China, 3Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

The vestibular system is essential to our sense of balance and spatial orientation. fMRI mapping of the vestibular system has been challenging due to the physical constraints limiting a subject’s ability to perform motion, balance, and orientation related tasks within an MRI scanner. As such, our present knowledge of the brain-wide cortical and subcortical regions that participate in processing the vestibular sense is scarce. Here, we combined fMRI and optogenetic stimulation of vestibular excitatory neurons to visualize two distinct brain-wide functional organization of central vestibular pathways originating from two major vestibular subnuclei, the superior vestibular nucleus and medial vestibular nucleus.

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