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Sensing External and Self-Motion with Hair Cells: A Comparison of the Lateral Line and Vestibular Systems from a Developmental and Evolutionary Perspective

Brain Behav Evol 90: 98-116. doi: 10.1159/000456646. Epub 2017 Oct 9.

Authors/Editors: Chagnaud BP
Engelmann J
Fritzsch B
Glover JC
Straka H
Publication Date: 2017
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2018

Abstract

Detection of motion is a feature essential to any living animal. In vertebrates, mechanosensory hair cells organized into the lateral line and vestibular systems are used to detect external water or head/body motion, respectively. While the neuronal components to detect these physical attributes are similar between the two sensory systems, the organizational pattern of the receptors in the periphery and the distribution of hindbrain afferent and efferent projections are adapted to the specific functions of the respective system. Here we provide a concise review comparing the functional organization of the vestibular and lateral line systems from the development of the organs to the wiring from the periphery and the first processing stages. The goal of this review is to highlight the similarities and differences to demonstrate how evolution caused a common neuronal substrate to adapt to different functions, one for the detection of external water stimuli and the generation of sensory maps and the other for the detection of self-motion and the generation of motor commands for immediate behavioral reactions.

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