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Integr Comp Biol. 2018 Aug 1;58(2):282-300. doi: 10.1093/icb/icy064.

Sensory Hair Cells: An Introduction to Structure and Physiology.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, SUNY Geneseo, Geneseo, NY 14454, USA.

Abstract

Sensory hair cells are specialized secondary sensory cells that mediate our senses of hearing, balance, linear acceleration, and angular acceleration (head rotation). In addition, hair cells in fish and amphibians mediate sensitivity to water movement through the lateral line system, and closely related electroreceptive cells mediate sensitivity to low-voltage electric fields in the aquatic environment of many fish species and several species of amphibian. Sensory hair cells share many structural and functional features across all vertebrate groups, while at the same time they are specialized for employment in a wide variety of sensory tasks. The complexity of hair cell structure is large, and the diversity of hair cell applications in sensory systems exceeds that seen for most, if not all, sensory cell types. The intent of this review is to summarize the more significant structural features and some of the more interesting and important physiological mechanisms that have been elucidated thus far. Outside vertebrates, hair cells are only known to exist in the coronal organ of tunicates. Electrical resonance, electromotility, and their exquisite mechanical sensitivity all contribute to the attractiveness of hair cells as a research subject.

PMID:
29917041
PMCID:
PMC6104712
DOI:
10.1093/icb/icy064
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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