1. The frequency limit of outer hair cell motility measured in vivo

    The frequency limit of outer hair cell motility measured in vivo

    Outer hair cells (OHCs) in the mammalian ear exhibit electromotility, electrically driven somatic length changes that are thought to mechanically amplify sound-evoked vibrations. For this amplification to work, OHCs must respond to sounds on a cycle-by-cycle basis even at frequencies that exceed the low-pass corner frequency of their cell membranes. Using in vivo optical vibrometry we tested this theory by measuring sound-evoked motility in the 13–25 kHz region of the gerbil cochlea. OHC vibrations were strongly rectified, and motility exhibited first-order low-pass characteristics with corner frequencies around 3 kHz– more than 2.5 octaves below the frequencies the OHCs ...

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