FIGURE 2 | Cellular structure of the sound-detecting organ of Corti.

From the following article:

The sensory and motor roles of auditory hair cells

Robert Fettiplace & Carole M. Hackney

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 7, 19-29 (January 2006)


The sensory and motor roles of auditory hair cells

a | Transverse section through a middle turn of the cochlea, showing the organ of Corti, an assembly of intricately shaped supporting cells and inner and outer hair cells supported by a flexible basilar membrane. The organ of Corti is approx150 mum wide. b | Upward displacement of the basilar membrane stimulates the hair cells by bending their stereociliary bundles against the acellular tectorial membrane. Because of the point about which the basilar membrane hinges, the inner hair cells must be stimulated mainly by motion of the tectorial membrane. Signals from each inner hair cell are relayed to the brain via 10 to 20 afferent fibres of the VIIIth cranial nerve. Outer hair cells have both sensory and motor capabilities and possess electromotility that underlies the cochlear amplifier. They have a sparse afferent innervation (not shown) and are contacted mainly by efferent nerves, which regulate the electromotility and influence cochlear sensitivity.

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