Velocity of red blood cell flow in capillaries of the guinea pig cochlea

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Velocities of red blood cells (RBCs) in the lateral wall of the cochlea were determined in the anesthetized guinea pig from direct optical microscopic observations. Mean flow velocity of the blood was measured by timing the passage of a fluorescently-labeled subpopulation of RBCs across a measured capillary length. The optical observations were achieved using an intravital microscope equipped for epifluorescence and the measurements were derived from video images acquired with an image intensified television camera. In the third turn of the cochlea the velocity of RBCs differed significantly between two major classes of capillaries. The mean velocity in spiral ligament vessels was 0.12 mm/s while stria vascularis flow was slower (0.08 mm/s). In a typical animal, the range of velocities among different vessels of the ligament was 0.09-0.18 mm/s while it was 0.03-0.10 mm/s for stria vascularis vessels. Corresponding to this velocity difference, the apparent mean vessel diameters for the two types of vessels also differed. Spiral ligament capillaries were 9.3 μm while striai capillaries were 12.2 μm in diameter. Comparison of flow velocity in different turns of the cochlea indicated that the distribution of blood velocity throughout the cochlea lateral wall is constant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalHearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlea
  • Fluorescence
  • Intravital microscopy
  • Red blood cell
  • Stria vascularis
  • Velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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