Dissociation of kainic acid lesion effects on the asymmetry of rotation and lateral head movements

Matti Mintz, Barbara J. Knowlton

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The present study tested the relationship between horizontal head movement asymmetry and rotation behavior after unilateral kainic acid (KA) lesions of the pontine reticular formation (PRF). In line with previous studies, the lesions decreased the rate of ipsilateral spontaneous head movements and spared contralateral spontaneous head movements. In contrast to previous studies, however, these lesions facilitated ipsilateral rather than contralateral rotation. Histological analysis revealed that the ipsilateral rotation may be accounted for by distant effects of the KA injection in the PRF on the ipsilateral substantia nigra (SN). We conclude that unilateral lesions consisting solely of the PRF lead to a preference for contralateral horizontal head movements which then channel rotated away from the lesioned side. KA injections in the PRF, however, are also associated with distant lesions within the ipsilateral extrapyramidal system which override the channeling effect of the contralateral head movements and induce instead ipsilateral rotation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-647
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993


  • Distant lesions
  • Horizontal head movements
  • Pontine reticular formation
  • Rotation
  • Substantia nigra Kainic acid


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