An analysis of the hydraulic conductivity of the extracisternal space of the cochlear outer hair cell

J. Tilak Ratnanather, Aleksander S Popel, William E. Brownell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The cylindrically shaped cochlear outer hair cell (OHC) plays an important role in the transduction of acoustic energy into electrical energy in the cochlea. The extracisternal space (ECiS) of the lateral wall of the OHC is the fluid-filled space between the plasma membrane (PM) and the intracellular subsurface cisterna (SSC). In the ECiS, an array of cylindrical micropillars extends from the SSC to the PM. We obtain equations for the pressure, osmotic concentration and fluid velocity in the ECiS from the Brinkman-Stokes equations for steady incompressible flow in a plane channel that encloses an array of cylinders and whose upper wall, i.e. the plasma membrane, has a hydraulic conductivity of PPM. From these equations we obtain an estimate for the hydraulic conductivity of the ECiS, PECiS. We show that the ECiS geometry accounts for PECiS being several orders of magnitude larger than PPM and that PECiS increases with the width of the ECiS and decreases with the length of the ECiS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-382
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mathematical Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000



  • Brinkman
  • Extracisternal space
  • Hydraulic conductivity
  • Outer hair cell
  • Stokes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)

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