Cochlear Function and Sodium and Potassium Activated Adenosine Triphosphatase

Science  25 Aug 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3791, pp. 949-950
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3791.949


The maintenance of the cation gradients between endolymph and perilymph in the cochlea requires the operation of a cation pump. An adenosine triphosphatase system activated by sodium and potassium is present in high activity in the cochlear membranes (tegmentum vasculosum and stria vascularis). The cochlear microphonic potential is inhibited by perilymphatic perfusion of ouabain and erythrophleine. Since the microphonic potential depends on the high concentration of potassium ions in the endolymph, our findings strongly suggest the operation of an adenosine triphosphatase cation pump system activated by sodium and potassium, in the generation of cochlear cation gradients.