The Morphology of Stereocilia and their Cross-Links in Relation to Noise Damage in the Guinea Pig

  • J. O. Pickles
  • S. D. Comis
  • M. P. Osborne
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 111)


We have previously described the morphology of cross-links between stereocilia, as seen by scanning and transmission electron microscopy [1–4]. The links can be divided into two sets. The links of the first set, which have also been described by other authors [e. g. 5–14], run laterally both between the stereocilia of the same row and the stereocilia of the different rows on a hair cell. The links of the second set, which had not been described before, run upwards from the tips of the shorter stereocilia, to join the adjacent taller stereocilia of the next row. If stretch of the links was associated with a reduction in the membrane resistance at one or both of their points of insertion, then many of the findings from electrophysiological experiments on hair cells, including the functional polarization of hair cells, can be accounted for simply and naturally [1,15,16]. We have, therefore, suggested that the tip links are involved in sensory transduction. The lateral links on our hypothesis have a purely mechanical role in bracing the hair bundle [1].


Hair Cell Outer Hair Cell Acoustic Stimulation Hair Bundle Tectorial Membrane 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. O. Pickles
    • 1
  • S. D. Comis
    • 1
  • M. P. Osborne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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