Is a cochlear hair cell a neuron?

Kalman Rubinson kr4 at
Tue Jul 1 10:06:02 EST 2003

On Tue, 01 Jul 2003 08:37:58 -0400, lkh <lkh at> wrote:

>On Tue, 01 Jul 2003 11:44:59 +1000, Richard Vickery
><Richard.Vickery at> wrote:
>>TonyJeffs wrote:
>>> Is a cochlear hair cell a neuron or not?  I've seen it categorised
>>> both ways.
>>> Is it a matter of preference?  Has it changed as more is learned about
>>> the hair cell.
>>It makes a synapse and can also be post-synaptic to synapses.  The 
>>issue is that it does not generate action potentials.  I don't 
>>believe there is clear consensus on what to call it - it depends 
>>upon how you define a neuron.
>>> What's the output? is it a variable release of neurotransmitter
>>> depending on incoming signal, or is it like the release from a
>>> presynaptic membrane?
>>The hair cell works with graded potentials that determine the 
>>release of neurotransmitter, so it is your option A.
>Call it a variable resistor.

I'd rather call it a variable oscillator.


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