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Vol. 7, No. 1, 2002
Issue release date: 2002

Mechanical Transduction in Outer Hair Cells

Gummer A.W. · Meyer J. · Frank G. · Scherer M.P. · Preyer S.
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Abstract

The outer hair cells are responsible for the exquisite sensitivity, frequency selectivity and dynamic range of the cochlea. These cells are part of a mechanical feedback system involving the basilar membrane and tectorial membrane. Transverse displacement of the basilar membrane results in relative motion between the tectorial membrane and the reticular lamina, causing deflection of the stereocilia and modulation of the open probability of their transduction channels. The resulting current causes a change of membrane potential, which in turn produces mechanical force, that is fed back into the motion of the basilar membrane. Experiments were conducted to address mechanical transduction mechanisms in both the stereocilia and the basolateral cell membrane, as well as modes of coupling of the outer hair cell force to the organ of Corti.



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