Sensorimotor Rehabilitation Promotes Vestibular Compensation in a Rodent Model of Acute Peripheral Vestibulopathy by Promoting Microgliogenesis in the Deafferented Vestibular Nuclei


  • Marouane Emna
  • El Mahmoudi Nada
  • Rastoldo Guillaume
  • Péricat David
  • Watabe Isabelle
  • Lapôtre Agnès
  • Tonetto Alain
  • Xavier Frédéric
  • Dumas Olivier
  • Chabbert Christian
  • Artzner Vincent
  • Tighilet Brahim


  • Vestibular rehabilitation
  • Vestibular compensation
  • Posturolocomotor instability
  • Cell differentiation
  • Microglial reaction
  • Neurogenesis
  • Vestibular nuclei

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Acute peripheral vestibulopathy leads to a cascade of symptoms involving balance and gait disorders that are particularly disabling for vestibular patients. Vestibular rehabilitation protocols have proven to be effective in improving vestibular compensation in clinical practice. Yet, the underlying neurobiological correlates remain unknown. The aim of this study was to highlight the behavioural and cellular consequences of a vestibular rehabilitation protocol adapted to a rat model of unilateral vestibular neurectomy. We developed a progressive sensory-motor rehabilitation task, and the behavioural consequences were quantified using a weight-distribution device. This analysis method provides a precise and ecological analysis of posturolocomotor vestibular deficits. At the cellular level, we focused on the analysis of plasticity mechanisms expressed in the vestibular nuclei. The results obtained show that vestibular rehabilitation induces a faster recovery of posturolocomotor deficits during vestibular compensation associated with a decrease in neurogenesis and an increase in microgliogenesis in the deafferented medial vestibular nucleus. This study reveals for the first time a part of the underlying adaptative neuroplasticity mechanisms of vestibular rehabilitation. These original data incite further investigation of the impact of rehabilitation on animal models of vestibulopathy. This new line of research should improve the management of vestibular patients.

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