Scientific publications

The vestibular system: Contributions of Lorente de Nó

Jul 28, 2023 | Magazine: Journal of Vestibular Research

Juan Manuel Espinosa-Sanchez  1   2   3   4 , Diego Kaski  5 , Nicolas Perez-Fernandez  6 , Angel Batuecas-Caletrio  7

Background: Rafael Lorente de Nó was a neuroscientist that worked alongside two of the giants of Medicine, the Nobel Prize winners Cajal and Bárány.

Objective: To describe the contributions of Lorente de Nó to vestibular neuroscience.

Methods: Detailed review of the publications of Lorente de Nó and analysis of the archives from Junta para Ampliación de Estudios e Investigaciones Científicas at Residencia de Estudiantes (Madrid, Spain), Casa de Salud Valdecilla at Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla (Santander, Spain), Becker Medical Library at Washington University (St. Louis, MO, USA), Rockefeller Archive Center (Sleepy Hollow, New York, NY, USA), Archivo Fernando de Castro (Madrid, Spain), Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) and Legado Cajal at Instituto Cajal (Madrid, Spain). Most of this material is unpublished and includes over a hundred letters to or from Lorente.

Results: Lorente de Nó made a substantial contribution to our understanding of the vestibular system. Amongst these, he meticulously detailed the course of the vestibular nerve and its central projections. He described the vestibulo-ocular reflex as the consequence of an integration of the various nuclei and connections across the vestibular system, rather than a simple three-neuron arc. He also highlighted the role of the reticular formation in the generation of the fast phase of the nystagmus.

Conclusions: Lorente de Nó was a pioneer of modern neuro-otology, having made outstanding contributions to vestibular neuroscience, forging novel discoveries that still burn true today.

CITATION  J Vestib Res. 2023;33(5):287-297.  doi: 10.3233/VES-220034