The Cellular Physiology of Isolated Outer Hair Cells: Implications for Cochlear Frequency Selectivity

  • Jonathan F. Ashmore
Part of the Nato ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 119)


There is a substantial, if circumstantial, weight of evidence which points to the outer hair cells (OHC) as the cellular elements involved in active hearing mechanisms. The interpretation of experiments involving efferent stimulation (Brown and Nuttall, 1984), acoustic emission (Hubbard and Mountain, 1983), ototoxic drug lesions and noise is that OHC are actively involved in cochlear micromechanics. In addition, it is now known that OHC isolated from the organ of Corti exhibit motile properties, (Brownell et al.,1985). Nevertheless, the forces generated by OHC in vivo must be sufficiently large and must be generated at a high enough rate to control macroscopic mechanics, or, equivalently, to produce the appropriate mechanical basilar membrane impedance required in theoretical models of the cochlea (Neely, 1983).


Hair Cell Outer Hair Cell Voltage Clamp Basilar Membrane Cuticular Plate 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan F. Ashmore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Medical SchoolUniversity WalkBristolUK

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