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J Neurophysiol. 1994 Feb;71(2):685-705.

Comparative transduction mechanisms of hair cells in the bullfrog utriculus. II. Sensitivity and response dynamics to hair bundle displacement.

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Department of Neuro-otology, Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center, Portland, Oregon 97209.
Good Samaritan Hosp, Portland, OR


1. Hair cells in whole-mount in vitro preparations of the utricular macula of the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) were selected according to their macular location and hair bundle morphology. The sensitivity and response dynamics of selected hair cells to natural stimulation were examined by recording their voltage responses to step and sinusoidal hair bundle displacements applied to their longest stereocilia. 2. The voltage responses of 31 hair cells to sinusoidal hair bundle displacements were characterized by their gains and phases, taken with respect to peak hair bundle displacement. The gains of Type B and Type C cells at both 0.5 and 5.0 Hz were markedly lower than those of Type F and Type E cells. Phases, with the exception of Type C cells, lagged hair bundle displacement at 0.5 Hz. Type C cells had phase leads of 25-40 degrees. At 5.0 Hz, response phases in all cells were phase lagged with respect to those at 0.5 Hz. Type C cells had larger gains and smaller phase leads at 5.0 Hz than at 0.5 Hz, suggesting the presence of low-frequency adaptation. 3. Displacement-response curves, derived from the voltage responses to 5.0-Hz sinusoids, were sigmoidal in shape and asymmetrical, with the depolarizing response having a greater magnitude and saturating less abruptly than the hyperpolarizing response. When normalized to their largest displacement the linear ranges of these curves varied from < 0.5 to 1.25 microns and were largest in Type B and smallest in Type F and Type E cells. Sensitivity, defined as the slope of the normalized displacement-response curve, was inversely correlated with linear range. 4. The contribution of geometric factors associated with the hair bundle to linear range and sensitivity were predicted from realistic models of utricular hair bundles created using morphological data obtained from light and electron microscopy. Three factors, including 1) the inverse ratio of the lengths of the kinocilium and longest stereocilia, representing the lever arm between kinociliary and stereociliary displacement; 2) tip link extension/linear displacement, largely a function of stereociliary height and separation; and 3) stereociliary number, an estimate of the number of transduction channels, were considered in this analysis. The first of these factors was quantitatively more important than the latter two factors and their total contribution was largest in Type B and Type C cells. Theoretical models were also used to calculate the relation between rotary and linear displacement.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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