In Vivo Measurement of Basilar Membrane Stiffness

  • Elizabeth S. Olson
  • David C. Mountain
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Biomathematics book series (LNBM, volume 87)


The basilar membrane is the underlying support of the cochlear partition. Its shape is that of a narrow, flat strip, tapering from the apex to the base of the cochlea. In ultrastructural observations in guinea pig the basilar membrane was found to be composed of three layers (Iurato. 1962). A layer of tympanic cells borders scala tympani. A 20 nm basement membrane borders the organ of Corti. In between is a noncellular layer, composed of protein filaments in a cottony ground substance. The filaments run transversely between the osseous spiral lamina and the spiral ligament. Voldnch (1978) observed that when the basilar membrane was deflected with a needle, the form of the deflection was a thin radial depression. This observation and the transverse anatomy suggest that the filaments behave structurally as a set of transverse beams with little longitudinal coupling.


Hair Cell Outer Hair Cell Basilar Membrane Round Window Compound Action Potential 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth S. Olson
    • 1
  • David C. Mountain
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Biomedical EngineeringBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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