Simultaneous Recording of Fluctuations of Hair-Bundle Deflection and Intracellular Voltage in Saccular Hair Cells

  • Winfried Denk
  • Watt W. Webb
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA)


The detection threshold of a sensory system depends on three factors: the coupling of the external stimulus such as sound pressure or acceleration to the input of the sensory cell, the transduction efficiency of the sensory cell, the transmission characteristics of the signal to the brain, and the noise associated with each stage. In this paper we describe experiments performed to elucidate the performance of sensory hair cells which are the site of mechano-electrical transduction in the inner ear of vertebrates. Mechanical deflection of the hair bundle protruding from these cells modulates the transmembrane resistance and consequently the transmembrane current and the intracellular potential. The magnitude of hair-bundle deflection necessary to obtain a significant receptor potential is determined by the size of the mechano-electrical transduction coefficient and by the amount of intracellular voltage noise.


Hair Cell Impulse Response Outer Hair Cell Voltage Noise Hair Bundle 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Winfried Denk
    • 1
  • Watt W. Webb
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Applied and Engineering Physics and Department of PhysicsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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