Shark Pit Organs: Enhancement of Mechanosensitivity by Potassium Ions

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Science  05 Dec 1969:
Vol. 166, Issue 3910, pp. 1287-1289
DOI: 10.1126/science.166.3910.1287


The mandibular pit organs of pelagic sharks, which respond sensitively to monovalent cations, often show neural discharges synchronized with respiratory gill movement. The mechanosensitivity of the organs is remarkably enhanced by application of potassium ions on the same end organ, respiratory movement remaining constant. In view of their michanosensitivity to an incr-ease of potassium ions in the cell environment, as well as their chemosensitivity,the pit organs of sarks, rather than the canal organs which have no chemosensitivity, may be designated as a better model of the inner ear of higher animals.

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