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Hair Cells

by Craig Canby, PhD
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    Now, let’s take a look at the maculae that are found in the saccule and the utricle. The maculae contain hair cells. Associated here on their apical region are some structures that are referred to as otoconia. These overlie the hair cells that are shown down in through here. So, what will happen with respect to, let’s say, linear acceleration is that when you run forward and you are accelerating, the otoconia have much more inertia than does the endolymph. As a result, the otoconia will stay in place and the endolymph will cause movement that will bend the hair cells that are right along here causing depolarization or stimulation of those hair cells. This will then initiate synaptic transmission of the afferent nerve fibers of the vestibular component of cranial nerve number eight, the vestibulocochlear nerve. We also have hair cells in the semicircular canals. These are associated with the crista ampullaris. The crista ampullaris is characterized by the cupula, a very prominent body associated with the crista ampullaris. Here are the hair cells. In this simplified drawing, you see one hair-like extension of these sensory hair cells. In reality, there’ll be numerous stereocilia which define this hair-like extensions of the apparatus. What will happen here with angular acceleration is, let’s say, you’re moving to the right. You’re rotating. You're pivoting. What will happen is the endolymph has greater inertia than does the cupula. So the endolymph here will push the cupula in this direction causing bending of the hair cells and depolarization along the afferent nerve fibers associated with the vestibular nerve. So, this will result in synaptic transmission of those afferent nerve fibers. ...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Hair Cells by Craig Canby, PhD is from the course Auditory System and Vestibular System.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Otoconia possess more inertia than the hair cells.
    2. Otoconia are located underneath the hair cells.
    3. Their movement stimulates the endolymph.
    4. Otoconia move secondary to the movement of hair cells.
    5. These are main structural component of the crista ampullaris.
    1. Bending of cupula leftwards
    2. Bending of cupula leftwards and bending of hair cells rightwards
    3. Bending of cupula rightwards and bending of hair cells leftwards
    4. Bending of cupula rightwards
    5. Bending of hair cells rightwards

    Author of lecture Hair Cells

     Craig Canby, PhD

    Craig Canby, PhD


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