Computer Models of the Vestibular Head Tilt Response, and Their Relationship to EVestG and Meniere's Disease
This paper attempts to explain response components of Electrovestibulography (EVestG) using a computer simulation of a three-canal model of the vestibular system. EVestG is a potentially new diagnostic method for Meniere's disease. EVestG is a variant of Electrocochleography (ECOG), which has been used as a standard method for diagnosing Meniere's disease - it can be used to measure the SP/AP ratio, where an SP/AP ratio greater than 0.4-0.5 is indicative of Meniere-s Disease. In EVestG, an applied head tilt replaces the acoustic stimulus of ECOG. The EVestG output is also an SP/AP type plot, where SP is the summing potential, and AP is the action potential amplitude. AP is thought of as being proportional to the size of a population of afferents in an excitatory neural firing state. A simulation of the fluid volume displacement in the vestibular labyrinth in response to various types of head tilts (ipsilateral, backwards and horizontal rotation) was performed, and a simple neural model based on these simulations developed. The simple neural model shows that the change in firing rate of the utricle is much larger in magnitude than the change in firing rates of all three semi-circular canals following a head tilt (except in a horizontal rotation). The data suggests that the change in utricular firing rate is a minimum 2-3 orders of magnitude larger than changes in firing rates of the canals during ipsilateral/backward tilts. Based on these results, the neural response recorded by the electrode in our EVestG recordings is expected to be dominated by the utricle in ipsilateral/backward tilts (It is important to note that the effect of the saccule and efferent signals were not taken into account in this model). If the utricle response dominates the EVestG recordings as the modeling results suggest, then EVestG has the potential to diagnose utricular hair cell damage due to a viral infection (which has been cited as one possible cause of Meniere's Disease).
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