Cochlear hair cells

The sound-sensing machines

Juan D. Goutman, A. Belén Elgoyhen, María Eugenia Gómez-Casati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The sensory epithelium of the mammalian inner ear contains two types of mechanosensory cells: inner (IHC) and outer hair cells (OHC). They both transduce mechanical force generated by sound waves into electrical signals. In their apical end, these cells possess a set of stereocilia representing the mechanosensing organelles. IHC are responsible for detecting sounds and transmitting the acoustic information to the brain by converting graded depolarization into trains of action potentials in auditory nerve fibers. OHC are responsible for the active mechanical amplification process that leads to the fine tuning and high sensitivity of the mammalian inner ear. This active amplification is the consequence of the ability of OHC to alter their cell length in response to changes in membrane potential, and is controlled by an efferent inhibitory innervation. Medial olivocochlear efferent fibers, originating in the brainstem, synapse directly at the base of OHC and release acetylcholine. A very special type of nicotinic receptor, assembled by α9α10 subunits, participates in this synapse. Here we review recent knowledge and the role of both afferent and efferent synapse in the inner ear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3354-3361
Number of pages8
JournalFEBS Letters
Volume589
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 31 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Outer Auditory Hair Cells
Auditory Hair Cells
Amplification
Inner Ear
Cells
Acoustic waves
Synapses
Fibers
Depolarization
Nicotinic Receptors
Inner Auditory Hair Cells
Acetylcholine
Brain
Mechanical Phenomena
Tuning
Acoustics
Stereocilia
Membranes
Cochlear Nerve
Nerve Fibers

Keywords

  • Afferent and efferent synapse
  • Cochlear hair cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology

Cite this

Goutman, J. D., Elgoyhen, A. B., & Gómez-Casati, M. E. (2015). Cochlear hair cells: The sound-sensing machines. FEBS Letters, 589(22), 3354-3361. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.febslet.2015.08.030

Cochlear hair cells : The sound-sensing machines. / Goutman, Juan D.; Elgoyhen, A. Belén; Gómez-Casati, María Eugenia.

In: FEBS Letters, Vol. 589, No. 22, 31.07.2015, p. 3354-3361.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Goutman, JD, Elgoyhen, AB & Gómez-Casati, ME 2015, 'Cochlear hair cells: The sound-sensing machines', FEBS Letters, vol. 589, no. 22, pp. 3354-3361. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.febslet.2015.08.030
Goutman JD, Elgoyhen AB, Gómez-Casati ME. Cochlear hair cells: The sound-sensing machines. FEBS Letters. 2015 Jul 31;589(22):3354-3361. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.febslet.2015.08.030
Goutman, Juan D. ; Elgoyhen, A. Belén ; Gómez-Casati, María Eugenia. / Cochlear hair cells : The sound-sensing machines. In: FEBS Letters. 2015 ; Vol. 589, No. 22. pp. 3354-3361.
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