, Volume 265, Issue 2, pp 153-157,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 28 Aug 2007

Morphology and function of Bast’s valve: additional insight in its functioning using 3D-reconstruction


The utriculo-endolymphatic valve was discovered by Bast in 1928. The function of Bast’s valve is still unclear. By means of orthogonal-plane fluorescence optical sectioning (OPFOS) microscopy 3D-reconstructions of the valve and its surrounding region are depicted. The shape of the duct at the utricular side is that of a flattened funnel. In the direction of the endolymphatic duct and sac this funnel runs into a very narrow duct. The valve itself has a rigid ‘arch-like’ configuration. The opposing thin, one cell-layer thick, utricular membrane is highly compliant. We propose that opening and closure of the valve occurs through movement of the flexible base/utricular membrane away from and toward the relatively rigid valve lip.