Movements and mechanical properties of ampullary hair bundles and of their kinocilium

  • Alfons Rüsch
  • Ulrich Thurm
Part of the Lecture Notes in Biomathematics book series (LNBM, volume 87)


For the study of hair bundel movements the semicircular canals provide long, pointerlike bundels. In fish and frogs the stereovilli (=stereocilia) are up to 15 um long and the kinocilium can be longer than 70 um (Wersäll, 1956; Nagel and Thurm, 1986). We made use of this pointerlike configuration and the uniform alignment of ampullary hair bundles in order to look for active contributions of hair bundles to the receptor properties, especially the adaptation of the cells. Stimulus dependent motor responses or changes in stiffness of the kinociliums were particularly conceivable with regard to the facts that vestibular hair cells retained a complete ciliary motor equipment throughout the evolution of the vertebrates (Hamilton,1969) and that motility of the kinocilium had occasionally been observed (Brown, 1931; Flock et al., 1977). Moreover, the kinocilium of vestibular hair cells also retained to be the only way on which the stimulatory force is conveyed to the stereovilli (e.g. Hillman and Lewis, 1971), the site of mechano-electric transduction as shown by Hudspeth and Jacobs (1979).


Hair Cell Semicircular Canal Hair Bundle Sensory Hair Vestibular Hair Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfons Rüsch
    • 1
  • Ulrich Thurm
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoological Inst.University of MünsterMünsterGermany

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