The diversified form and function of cochlear afferents

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Cochlear afferents differ in form and function. The great majority are type I, large diameter, myelinated neurons that contact a single inner hair cell to transmit acoustic information. Each inner hair cell is presynaptic to a pool of 10-30 type I afferents, among which spontaneous activity and acoustic threshold vary widely. Variation in the number, voltage-gating, and density of L-type calcium channels at each presynaptic active zone (ribbon) may dictate this functional diversity. Despite contacting large numbers of outer hair cells, the scarce, unmyelinated type II afferents are acoustically insensitive, and only weakly depolarized by outer hair cell transmitter release. However, type II afferents respond strongly to adenosine triphosphate released by cochlear tissue damage, providing a biological basis for painful hearing (noxacusis).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Auditory Brainstem
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780190849061
StatePublished - Apr 5 2018


  • Acoustic threshold
  • Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
  • Cochlea
  • Hyperacusis
  • Inner hair cell
  • Noxacusis
  • Outer hair cell
  • Ribbon synapse
  • Type I afferent
  • Type II afferent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The diversified form and function of cochlear afferents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this