Is a cochlear hair cell a neuron?

Richard Vickery Richard.Vickery at
Tue Jul 1 19:53:47 EST 2003

It is definitely more than just a variable resistor - there are time 
dependent effects.  It appears (though is far from proven) that the 
hair cells are electrically tuned to approximately their 
characteristic frequency.  This tuning depends on a feed back loop 
between voltage-gated Ca++ channels (open with depolarization) and 
Ca++-gated K+ channels (open with increased Ca++ and hyperpolarize 
the cell).

For example:

Tonotopic map of potassium currents in chick auditory hair cells 
using an intact basilar papilla.
Pantelias AA, Monsivais P, Rubel EW
Hear Res 2001 Jun 156:1-2 81-94

Richard Vickery

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list