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Focal stimulation of the basilar membrane

The inner hair cells in the mammalian cochlea transduce mechanical signals to electrical signals that provide input to the auditory nerve. The spatial-temporal displacement of the inner hair cell stereocilia (IHCsc) relative to basilar membrane (BM) displacement is central to characterizing the transduction process. This study specifically focuses on measuring displacement of the stereocilia hair bundles in the radial dimensions where they are most sensitive. To simplify the mechanical response of the cochlear partition, a mechanical probe was used to drive the BM. Optical imaging was used to measure radial displacement of the inner hair cell stereocilia local to the probe in ex vivo gerbil cochleae. The mechanical probe displaced the BM in the transverse direction using sinusoidal stimuli with frequencies ranging from 10 Hz to 42.5 kHz. IHCsc displacement measurements were made in the radial dimension as a function of their longitudinal location along the length of the BM. The results were used to quantify the frequency response, longitudinal space coupling, traveling wave velocity, and wavelength of the radial displacement of the stereocilia.
The measurements were centered at two best frequency locations along the BM: Proximal to the round window (first turn), and in the second turn. At both locations, frequency tuning was seen that was consistent with published place maps. At both locations, traveling waves were observed simultaneously propagating basal and apical from the probe. The velocity of the traveling waves at the center frequency (CF) of the location was higher in the first turn than in the second. As the stimulus frequency increased and approached CF for a location, the traveling wavelength decreased. Differential motion of the BM and IHCsc was observed in the second turn as the stimulus frequency increased toward CF. The longitudinal coupling measured in this study was longer than observed in previous studies. In summary the results suggest that the shape of the wave patterns present on the BM are not sufficient to characterize the displacement of the IHCsc.
Date30 May 2023
CreatorsZosuls, Aleksandrs
ContributorsSen, Kamal
Source SetsBoston University
Detected LanguageEnglish

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