Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 87–98 | Cite as

The effect of raising the scala tympani potassium concentration on the tone-induced cochlear responses of the guinea pig

  • A. N. Salt
  • P. E. Stopp


Scala tympani (ST) in guinea pig was perfused with modified Ringer's solutions containing 5–50 mM potassium; tone-induced cochlear responses from the basal turn of ST were compared before, during and after perfusions.

The compound nerve action potential (N1) and afterpotential (a/p) amplitudes were reduced, especially above 20 mM; the summating potential (SP) was variable, but its onset shape changed consistently with 13–20 mM levels. However, the cochlear microphonic amplitude (CM) remained substantially unchanged even at the 35 mM level. K+ concentration was monitored in ST with ion-sensitive pipettes. Stable levels were reached within 2 min, but N1 responses continued to fall beyond this time. Recovery to normal K+ levels took place spontaneously and the concentration curve which resulted showed a 2-slope characteristic.

These experiments question whether elevated potassium concentration in scala tympani depolarizes the hair cells, and if it does, whether the hair cell resting potential is involved in the generation of the CM.

Key words

Cochlea Perfusion Elevated potassium Electrical potentials Recovery 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. N. Salt
    • 1
  • P. E. Stopp
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurocommunications Research UnitMedical School, University of BirminghamBirminghamEngland

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