Inner hair cell responses to sound were monitored while direct current was applied across the membranous labyrinth in the first turn of the guinea pig cochlea. The current injection electrodes were positioned in the scala vestibuli and on the round window membrane. Positive and negative current (< 100 μA) caused changes in the sound-evoked dc receptor potentials which were dependent on the sound frequency and intensity. The frequencies most affected by this extracellular current were those comprising the “tip” portion of the inner hair cell frequency tuning characteristic (FTC). The influence of current increased with increasing frequency. Positive current increased the amount of dc receptor potential for the affected frequencies while negative current decreased the potential. Current-induced changes (on a percentage basis) were greater for low intensity sounds and the negative current direction. These frequency specific changes are evidenced as a loss in sensitivity for the tip area of the FTC and a downward shift of the inner hair cell characteristic frequency. Larger current levels (>160μA) cause more complex changes including unrecoverable loss of cell performance. In separate experiments positive and negative currents (< 1.1 μA) were injected into the inner hair cell from the recording electrode during simultaneous measurement of the sound-evoked dc receptor potential. This condition caused a shift in IHC sensitivity that was independent of sound frequency and intensity. Positive current decreased the sensitivity of the level of the cell while negative current increased the responses. The effect of current level on sound-evoked dc receptor potential was nonlinear, as comparatively greater increases in cell response were observed for negative than decreases for positive current. The intracellular current injection results are accounted for by the mechano-resistive model of hair cell transduction, where nonlinear responses with current level may reflect outward rectification. Response changes induced by extracellular current are evidence of current effects on both inner and outer hair cells. The frequency and intensity dependences are hypothesized to represent voltage mediated control of inner hair cell response by the outer hair cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics