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Hear Res. 2007 Oct;232(1-2):20-8. Epub 2007 Jun 13.

Contribution of outer hair cell bending to stereocilium deflection in the cochlea.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576, Singapore.


The outer hair cell (OHC) in the cochlea is believed to actively enhance the cochlear sensitivity and frequency selectivity. Besides the well-known axial length change of the OHC, the bending mode of the OHC may also contribute to the stereocilium deflection. To investigate the contribution of the OHC bending to the stereocilium deflection, and the active process in the cochlea, we develop a simple kinematic model of the organ of Corti, consisting of the reticular lamina, the stereocilia and tectorial membrane. The electrically evoked axial length change and bending of the OHC are simulated, and their contributions to the stereocilium deflection are obtained. At the apical turn of the cochlea, the bending mode of the OHC results in stereocilium deflection comparable to that due to the axisymmetric length change of the OHC. At the basal turn, the contribution of the bending mode to the stereocilium deflection becomes insignificant compared to that of the axisymmetric mode.

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