A micromechanical contribution to cochlear tuning and tonotopic organization

Science  04 Nov 1983:
Vol. 222, Issue 4623, pp. 508-510
DOI: 10.1126/science.6623089


The response properties of hair cells and nerve fibers in the alligator lizard cochlea are frequency selective and tonotopically organized with longitudinal position in the organ. The lengths of the hair-cell hair bundles also vary monotonically with longitudinal position. In this study, quantitative measurements were made of the motion of individual hair bundles in an excised preparation of the cochlea stimulated at auditory frequencies. The angular displacement of hair bundles is frequency selective and tonotopically organized, demonstrating the existence of a micromechanical tuning mechanism.