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Table of Contents
Vol. 68, No. 6, 2006
Issue release date: October 2006
Section title: Cochlear Mechanics and Otoacoustic Emissions
Free Access
ORL 2006;68:373–377

Electromotility in Outer Hair Cells: A Supporting Role for Fast Potassium Conductance

Ospeck M. · Dong X. · Fang J. · Iwasa K.H.
Biophysics Section, NIDCD, NIH, Bethesda, Md., USA
email Corresponding Author

Kuni Iwasa

Biophysics Section, NIDCD, NIH

50th South Drive MSC 8027

Bethesda, MD 20892-8027 (USA)

Tel. +1 301 496 3987, Fax +1 301 480 0827, E-Mail iwasa@nih.gov

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Motility of outer hair cells underlies the cochlear amplifier, which is critical for the ear’s sensitivity and fine tuning. Of the two motile mechanisms present in these cells, electromotility at the lateral wall depends on the receptor potential and thus depends on currents through the cell body. We found that, in the guinea pig cochlea, basal turn outer hair cells have a fast-activating ion current (τ < 0.3 ms at 23°C), which is absent in apical turn cells. This finding is consistent with our previous theoretical analysis that a fast-activating potassium current is required only in the basal turn to counteract the capacitive current and thereby to enhance the effectiveness of electromotility. Thus, our finding is consistent with the functional significance of electromotility. We conjecture therefore that the current reduces the capacitance of the outer hair cell in order to increase hearing bandwidth.

© 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Cochlear Mechanics and Otoacoustic Emissions

Published online: October 26, 2006
Issue release date: October 2006

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0301-1569 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0275 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/ORL

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