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Mechanosensitivity of mammalian auditory hair cells in vitro

Abstract

Intracellular responses recorded in vitro from the cochleas of anaesthetized mammals have shown that the mechanoreceptive inner and outer hair cells are sharply tuned, accounting for many of the properties of the afferent fibres in the auditory nerve1–4. However, in vivo it has not been possible to measure directly the excitatory mechanical input to these cells (the displacement of their mechanosensitive stereocilia)5,6 and thus to determine the relationship between the receptor potentials and displacement of their stereocilia. As a means of circumventing this technical difficulty, we have developed an organ culture of the mouse cochlea and here we describe the receptor potentials generated by the hair cells in response to direct displacement of their stereocilia.

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